Friday, Dec 6, 2013
Groups Hoping to Change New Poker Run Law
WILLIAMSON COUNTY -- A new law meant to protect poker runs is creating frustration.
House Bill 2520 was drawn up earlier this year because of concerns that poker runs were a type of illegal gambling. The bill was signed into law in August, and moved the fundraisers under the Illinois Charitable Games Act.
However, the regulations means charities and poker run stops all need to pay for a license.
Motorcycle groups are now looking for a new solution.
Poker runs ride into towns across southern Illinois. They bring out bikers and bring in big dollars for charity causes.
"All poker runs are different," said Black Diamond Harley Davidson Co-Owner Shad Zimbro. "Some stop at bars, some stop at parks, some stop at dealerships."
Black Diamond Harley Davidson sees dozens of poker runs roll through each summer.
"Your average poker run cost about $20 per rider," said Zimbro. "I've seen them up to 1,500 riders per poker run, so you can raise a lot of money."
Zimbro fears the new law will put an end to many of the events.
All locations involved are now required to pay a fee of $50 a year. The non-profit behind the event must have a permit that costs $200. Any funds raised will be taxed at 3 percent.
"If you don't have a large turnout, it might cost you money to have a poker run," said Zimbro.
The legislation was passed this year with overwhelming support. The push for change came after the motorcycle group, ABATE, wanted to protect poker runs.
However, the Illinois Department of Revenue says lawmakers didn't ask for their help.
"When we aren't involved in the drafting of legislation, it sometimes isn't written in a way that makes easiest compliance," said IDOR spokesperson Susan Hofer.
Now, the agency is enforcing those taxes and fees. They're also talking with bill sponsors about finding a new category for poker runs.
"In the meantime, we're working with people who want to do them to ensure that they understand the rules and that they can comply with them," said Hofer.
The legislative coordinator for ABATE tells News 3 the group is working on a new law to exempt poker runs. They want to have the issues solved before the start of next year.
The veto session starts on October 22. Representative Rich Brauer has already drawn up a bill that would put poker runs under the jurisdiction of the county where they're being held.
You can find more information and the license application here: http://www.revenue.state.il.us/CharityGaming/
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