Published 4:16 PM EDT Jun 25, 2018

DELTA TOWNSHIP - Betty Carpenter isn't much of a gambler.

She's familiar with blackjack, but that's about it.

What Carpenter, 72, knows are the financial challenges of the Woodland, Mich. Fraternal Order of Eagles auxiliary.

Nov 06, 2019  Information and Reviews about One Eyed Jacks Poker Room in Utica, including Poker Tournaments, Games, Special Events and Promotions. With amazing table games and friendly dealers, Little River Casino Resort is the most exciting place to play poker, blackjack, and more. Table limits range from $1 to $5000, perfect for both casual and seasoned players. Jan 04, 2020  Michigan Regional Poker Information. Carding online casino tutorial. Find the best Michigan casino and Michigan poker room promotions and full details on the state's daily poker tournaments.

Jun 25, 2018  Months-old charity poker room finds its niche in area that may surprise you. Open from 2 p.m. Four days a week, The Event Spot goes all-in in Delta Township.

Without cash, the club can't fund scholarships, improve parks, hold holiday events for needy families and fulfill other philanthropic obligations, Carpenter said.

Charity poker provides some answers. Specifically, the months-old charity poker room in Delta Township that allows service clubs, school sports booster clubs, churches or other nonprofits to hold poker events there for a fee.

'This means the world to our club,' Carpenter said.


Lansing wants to crack down on illegal gambling

Gaming Board: Charity poker thriving under new rules

State threatens to shut down charitable poker games

The Eagles and other nonprofit organizations have found a home at The Event Spot, 5601 W. Saginaw Hwy., suite B, in Delta Township.

Since January, the poker room has operated quietly inside a commercial building it shares with HoneyBaked Ham, a flooring company and a nail salon.

That may change.

The Event Spot is the only poker room in the Lansing region available for nonprofit organizations to hold up to four events a year for a fee.

Charity poker in Michigan has a complicated history, driven by debate and confusion over state laws and regulations.

Down The River Poker

Other cities that have poker rooms include Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Owosso, Saginaw, Sterling Heights ad Waterford.

The River Poker Room MichiganDown the river poker

Heather Schuchaskie, an Okemos native, supplies organizations with poker tables, chips and other materials needed for events. She also has a staff of dealers nonprofits use at The Event Spot and describes charity poker as 'a winning proposition all the way around.'

Delta Township officials appear to agree, but are expected to watch closely how the venue handles its business.

The Event Spot draws anywhere from 40 to 70 players per day, Schuchaskie said.

'A handful of players,' she said, at least one per day, can play at one of the six tables for up to 12 hours straight.

None of the players, Schuchaskie said, fit the reckless, risk-taking shady gambler stereotype.

'I think people are becoming more accepting of this,' Schuchaskie said. 'I see in my room every walk of life.'

The Event Spot's six 10-person tables in its 1,500-square-foot gaming space, surrounded by six flat screen TVs, are available for action four days a week.

Hours are 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Visitors can't bring in alcohol or buy it in the poker room. But they can bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks, or have it ordered in.

Get the best deals on Mills Slot Machine when you shop the largest online selection at eBay.com. Free shipping on many items. Antique 1947 Mills Token Bell 25 Cent Slot Machine, Restored. Antique 1937 Blue Front Bursting Cherry Mills Slot Machine, All Original. /mills-token-bell-slot-machine/.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board, a state licensing and regulator agency, prohibits people under 18 to play in poker rooms or enter them.

The Event Spot has a waiting list for nonprofit organizations because of its limited days and hours. Each organization, according to state law, can have four events per year. Each event can be held for up to four consecutive days.

If more poker rooms were open, it would mean less hassle for organizations, Schuchaskie said. She wants to find another Lansing area location for poker events that nonprofit organizations can use Sundays through Tuesdays.

'It's hard to get in because people don't leave,' said Schuchaskie of charity poker rooms.

Schuchaskie is also a poker event supplier for charities at two venues in Waterford.

Delta Township's Board of Trustees approved The Event Spot's opening late last year and changed an ordinance that prohibited charity poker.

Ken Fletcher, township supervisor, said he had not, as of last week, visited The Event Spot. He isn't aware of any other proposals for other poker rooms in the area.

Fletcher describes charity poker as 'a good form of gambling' because it's in a secure environment and supports good causes.

That doesn't necessarily mean he wants the township to be all-in.

“I don’t think we want to become known as the poker capital of the area,' Fletcher said.

Schuchaskie said the venue hasn't committed any violations since its opening because her Lansing-based company, Aces Gaming Supply LLC, has years of experience in the industry.

'We've lasted as long as we have because we're fanatics (for the rules).' Schuchaskie said.

Mary Kay Bean, a Michigan Gaming Control Board spokesperson, declined to discuss The Event Spot and said information about violations has to be obtained by filing a Freedom of Information Act request.

As of Dec. 31, 2017, the state gaming board counted 47 locations in Michigan that were approved to conduct charity poker events on a recurring basis.

Under the Traxler-McCauley-Law-Bowman Bingo Act of 1972 (Public Act 382), these events are described as 'millionaire parties.'

Rivers Casino Poker Room Tournaments

By the end of 2017, the board also recorded 28 active event supplier licensed by the state. Also at that time, the board conducted 1,657 of what it describes as 'on-site' and 'post-event' inspections.

Bean said Friday she didn't know if any of the inspections resulted in violations.

Delta Township property records indicate the standalone building where The Event Spot and other businesses are located on West Saginaw Highway is owned by Raymond and Carolyn Maly.

Brent Maly, the couple's son, said Friday he owns the building and has had no problems with The Event Spot as a tenant. He declined to say who pays rent and leases the space from him.

“Honestly it doesn’t matter what goes in there as long as they pay their rent and it doesn’t harm any of my other tenants,' Brent Maly said.

Years of volatility in the charity poker industry reduced the number of poker venues that hosted events.

Owners of places like sports bars and bowling alleys found it difficult to keep charity poker events going because of confusion over state laws and regulations.

Poker loyalists like Nicholas Barchichat, 20, an East Lansing resident, said he enjoys The Event Spot 'grind' and would like to see more venues open.

Lately, Barchichat has played up to twice a week, including a few marathon sessions. One day, Barchichat said he put in an eight-hour day and left with $1,650.

'It's not a good image for most people to think about,' said Barchichat, when asked about frequent gambling. 'But I think it's great. It's a lot better than going to a casino, that's for sure. Definitely way better odds.'

Charity poker, just like any form of gambling, must be carefully regulated because it can cause destructive addiction problems, said 66-year-old Michael Mooney, a former gambling addict.

Mooney recently celebrated 23 years gambling-free and is now a treatment provider for the state-funded Michigan Problem Gambling program.

Mooney doesn't oppose poker rooms but suggests municipalities should regulate them with strict zoning policies similar to medical marijuana dispensaries.

“We can’t afford to wait until there is a charity poker room in every strip mall to say ‘Gee, how do we regulate these now?' Mooney said.

Revenue generated from chip sales made by nonprofit organizations at poker events has fluctuated over the years.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board reports sales were $7.8 million in 2004, $197.3 million in 2011 and $78.6 million last year.

Last year's sales mark resulted in net profits to charities of about $7 million, according to the board's 2017 report.

Free Poker Room

Organizations are currently allowed to sell up to $15,000 in chips per day at a poker event. But there's legislation pending that would raise an organization's chip sale limit to $20,000 per day.

An increase in the chip sale limit is long overdue, said Katharine Hude, the Michigan Charitable Gaming Association's executive director.

'The $10,000 an organization can make off one event is huge,' Hude said. 'To casinos, that’s nothing. That’s something some can make in half a second.”

An organization and its volunteer members are eligible to have four poker events per year, referred in a 1972 state act as 'millionaire parties.'

There were 2,387 millionaire party licenses issued last year, authorizing 8,714 event days.

Near charity poker's peak in 2009, the state reported 8,140 licenses and over 32,000 event days. There were 8,217 licenses granted for 29,964 days in 2010.

Schuchaskie, the poker event supplier, has 12 years of experience in the business and accepts charity poker's harsh realities.

Being a supplier for organizations is still profitable and serves an honorable purpose, she said.

'I'm helping the charities raise money they otherwise wouldn't make,' Schuchaskie said. 'I got the best of both worlds.'

The River Poker Room Utica Michigan

Eric Lacy is a reporter for the Lansing State Journal. Contact him at 517-377-1206 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @EricLacy.

How charity poker works

Charity poker, also referred to as 'millionaire parties,' is considered legal by the state of Michigan for properly vetted nonprofit organizations, licensed event suppliers and venues.

Some charity poker facts and guidelines for cash games and tournaments:

The River Poker Room Michigan

  • People 18 and over who play Texas Hold 'Em cash games and tournaments are able to win money and/or prizes at a charity poker event.
  • A nonprofit organization keeps a percentage of all the players' entry fees for cash games and tournaments.
  • Organizations like service clubs and churches can hold games at their facilities or another location that has a rental contract with a licensed supplier.
  • A licensed supplier, according to state law, cannot own or rent the venue where the poker cash games and tournaments are held.
  • The supplier can rent chips, tables and other materials to organizations who want to host poker events at a venue or their own location.
  • Suppliers have their own staff, including dealers, and rent out tables, chips and other gaming materials to the participating organizations.
  • Organizations can't sell players more than $15,000 in chips per day. There's legislation pending that would raise the limit to $20,000 per day.
  • The state's $15,000 limit in chips sales has existed for at least 20 years.
  • An organization and its volunteer members are eligible to host four poker events per year, referred in a 1972 state act as 'millionaire parties.'
  • Each license for an organization covers up to four straight event days.
  • A venue can only have cash games and tournaments four days per week.
  • An organization can't pay the venue's owner more than $250 per day in rent.
  • Expenses for a poker event can't exceed 45% of its gross profit per day.
Published 4:16 PM EDT Jun 25, 2018