A poker game at a Knights of Columbus hall in Indianapolis that rakes in millions for local non-profits is under investigation for gambling license violations.
Indiana gaming officials will not disclose the precise issues being investigated at the Northside Knights of Columbus Social Club in which the poker games are held, saying only that they’re”very severe.”
“The aim is to determine where they’re falling short and to deal with those issues,” stated Jenny Reske according to the Indy Star.
Reske is the deputy director of the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) and confirms that the club located in Marion County may be facing fines or a suspension of its permit.
The operation also holds a permit but it’s poker that’s the money maker. Those games accounted for $3.75 million of the club’s $4.4 million gross take in 2017, according to official IGC figures, leading to a profit of over $150,000 last year.
It ranks in Fort Wayne as the charity that is second-biggest poker game in the state behind the Fraternal Order of Eagles. But gambling and authorities authorities last summer raided that operation, which has closed down.
“We Just Didn’t Know the Rules”
Officials from the Knights of Columbus concede that their operation has been subject to scrutiny.
“Quite frankly, we had a couple of violations, and we’ve taken care of them,” Dave Short, who organizes the poker games, confessed to the Indy Star. “They were not large, besides we just didn’t know the rules.”
He claims the violations concerned technical infractions like signage that is improper, but gaming officials indicate.
“I would not characterize the violations as insignificant,” Reske stated. “When we move to violations, it’s usually because we see something serious.”
While Reske will not get into the specifics of the latest violations, she confirms that they’re not now the subject of a criminal investigation.
The club has seating for some 80 players on a busy night, and holds its poker games twice weekly on Wednesdays and Mondays.
Heavy Handed Crackdown?
Club officials point out that the matches have helped to raise $182,000 for local charities, such as the St. Baldrich’s Foundation, which is helping to fight against cancer in kids, as well us updates to a neighborhood high school.
Meanwhile, some $341,000 has gone toward renovations at the club.
The IGC has in the past been accused of being too harsh with it handles gambling violations. The regulatory authority came under fire forin 2015. The commission claimed that the prizes of hand soap and toilet paper in the friendly euchre games amounted to gaming.
The outrage grew to the point where then-Governor Mike Pence stepped in and asked the IGC to”ensure common sense prevails” when tackling potential infractions.