A growing trend for gaming throughout the state of Michigan is Millionaire Parties.
Conducted by charitable organizations, they give players a chance to compete for prizes without high-stakes betting.
While COVID-19 has put a stop to these events currently, expect to see them resume once given the green light.
What is a Millionaire Party?
According to Michigan Gaming, a Millionaire Party is “a charitable gaming event where wagers are placed on games of chance customarily associated with a gambling casino and participants use imitation money or chips.”
A Millionaire Party is a form of Michigan charitable gaming that is subject to oversight by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).
Charities that qualify can be issued up to four Millionaire Party licenses in a calendar year. Each charity is able to authorize each license for up to four consecutive days. The license fee is $50 per day of an event.
Organizations can make up to 50% of the profits from the games. The more chips sold during the event, the more profit the organization makes.
According to the MCGB, in 2017 alone, there were over 2,300 licenses granted to charitable organizations to host a Millionaire Party.
The most common game conducted through the state is Texas Hold ‘Em poker.
What organizations qualify for a Millionaire Party?
The MGCB states that an organization may be eligible for a Millionaire Party if it is one of the following organizations without profit to its members, including these examples:
- Religious: churches
- Educational: schools, including public, private and charter
- Service: Kiwanis Club, Lions Club
- Service (local civic): sports clubs, school groups, animal rescues, auxiliary groups
- Senior citizens: organizations with at least 15 members over the age of 60 that exist for the mutual support and advancement of the causes of elderly or retired persons
- Fraternal: Eagles, Shriners, K of C, Knights of Templar
- Veterans: VFW, AMVETS
The organization also must have existed continuously for a period of five years. An organization can also qualify if it is exempt from taxation under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue code.
Organizations that want to qualify must complete a qualification form and provide required documents to the MGCB. A mandatory on-site meeting also will take place.
Rules for your Millionaire Party
Millionaire Parties are held at an organization’s own location, or an approved rented location.
A Millionaire Party may not begin before 8 a.m., or continue past 2 a.m.
There is a chip sales limit of $20,000 per day for a given party. Players purchase chips and compete for prizes based on chip counts acquired throughout the event.
Organizations must maintain accurate and complete financial records of the party, including support for their revenue and expenses. They must also complete, maintain and file game records for each party event held.
Parties require at least two bona-fide members over the age of 18 working the event at all times. According to the MGCB, a bona-fide member is, “a person who participates in the qualified organization to further its lawful purposes and the spouse of such a member.”
The organization must also designate one of those persons as the chairperson, who will be in charge and responsible for the conduct of the licensed gaming event.
All workers and anyone participating in the event, including players, must be 18 or older.
Dealers can be bona fide members of the organization, or a hired dealer from a licensed supplier.
The MCGB can deny a Millionaire Party application if a proposed organization’s dealer has ever been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to the following:
- A felony
- A gambling offense
- Criminal fraud
- Filing a false report with a governmental agency
For a complete list of rules and regulations, see the MGCB’s filing.
COVID-19 puts Millionaire Parties on hold
Millionaire Parties have been on hold since April because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Michigan continues to progress through different phases of its reopening, Millionaire Parties continue to play the waiting game.
MGCB casinos now wait for phase five, but there is no timetable for when that will take place. As a result, Millionaire Parties will not resume until then.
Coronavirus cases in the state of Michigan have gone up in recent weeks. Wednesday saw a total of 610 new cases, which was the highest since May 20.