(KSDK) -- From teenagers to church groups, Texas Hold'em card tournaments are sweeping the nation. However, the mayor of Belleville says before you play, you must pay for a charitable gaming permit.
He wants charities that are holding fundraisers to know the law before they cut the cards. Mark Eckert has only been the mayor of Belleville for six weeks, but started getting calls about of all things...poker!
Mayor Eckert says callers wanted to know whether the tournaments are legal and how they could get a permit. “We are aware that there's quite a few of them going on in Belleville and do I know about them."
He did some research and learned a lot.
Bottom line is not-for-profits must get a charitable gaming license from the Illinois Department of Revenue.
"They must fill out the proper paperwork, there's probably a fee. I didn't get into that, but they also said there are limits to how much winnings is allowed to be and all the proceeds must go to a not- for- profit," says Mayor Eckert.
Sister Ann Marie Bonvie of St. Augustine School has plenty of experience in fundraising, and has a whole booklet of gaming rules for charities.
"We are very familiar with many kinds of fundraising activities," says Sister Bonvie.
Their most recent, a Texas Hold’em card tournament, held two months ago.
"So we got a list of the gaming rules and read thru the rules and spent some time talking with teachers on what we needed to do,” says Bonvie. That included purchasing a permit, which lasts a year. With that permit they can hold up to four events.
It was so successful, St. Augustine is holding another Texas Hold’em this Saturday. Bonvie says "They do not want to prevent us from having charitable events but they do expect us to do it in the proper way."
It costs $200 to apply for a charitable gaming license, and there is $250 maximum prize limit.
For more information, visit The Illinois Department of Revenue.