Monday, February 20, 2006

Bill Would Let Charities Holding Poker Nights Hold'em

Charity PokerCharity PokerThe California Assembly has upped the ante on charity poker by approving legislation that would allow a wide variety of nonprofits to hold fundraisers using gambling. The bill, introduced by Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, is given a good chance of passage in the Senate where it now awaits action. Attorney General Bill Lockyer is a sponsor.

"Many of California's gambling laws were written in the 19th Century, and some of them need to be modernized," says Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for the attorney general's office. Mr. Torrico says the need has been underscored by the federal government's increasing reliance on non-profits and faith-based programs to take care of social programs. "This is not a green light to every bar in the state to reorganize as a nonprofit," he says.

The proposed law would put restrictions on the gambling:
  • Gamblers can play only for prizes, not cash, and the total value of prizes cannot exceed $5,000

  • A total of 90 percent of the money raised must go to purpose of the fundraising

  • Gamblers must be at least 21 years old

  • The non-profit or charity can hold only one such fundraiser a year, and the hall where the game is held can hold no more than two gambling fundraisers in a year
Mr. Barankin says any group that wants to hold a fundraiser must be a legitimate non-profit that has been on the books for at least a year.

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