Few prosecuted for illegal charity gambling events in Kansas

Aug 13, 2012 10:07 AM

Most Kansans have the opinion that running poker tournaments for charitable purposes don’t violate Kansas gaming laws. But, they are wrong.

That was the opinion given to The Garden City (Kansas) Telegram in a story published over the weekend.

Bill Miskell, a spokesman for the state Racing and Gaming Commission, told the newspaper that the people organizing such events are really breaking the law. The state leaves it up to county or district attorneys to decide whether they want to take action.

Action is rarely taken, he said.

One county prosecutor described an activity that’s “fun for a lot of people and raises money for a charity.” It’s called a “poker run.” The activity involves motorcycle riders who pay an entry or registration fee, and then drive to various locations to pick up playing cards. At their final stop, the person with the best poker hand wins a prize.

Technically, said the prosecutor, the poker run is a crime. “And it just seems to me to be contradictory, contrary, and I wish the legislature would take a look at it after all these years,” he was quoted as saying.

Miskell explained that “Kansas is one of the four states in the United States that has no charitable gaming exceptions to their laws. Under Kansas law, there is no charitable exception to the gambling laws, and it would require a change in statute to make those kinds of events legal for certified not-for-profit (organizations).”