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Governor proposes to modernizes charitable gaming laws

Posted 15 February 2017 at 1:29 pm

Issue forced some local fire departments, service clubs to cancel popular raffles

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a proposal to modernize laws to make it easier for charitable organizations to raise funds through gaming, including raffles, bell jar and other types of games.

This proposal, part of the FY 2018 Executive Budget, will help veterans’ organizations such as The Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion and Disabled American Veterans; fraternal and service organizations including the Loyal Order of Moose, Fraternal Order of Eagles, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and hundreds of churches, volunteer fire departments and other non-profits across the state raise funds for their organizations.

“For too long, red tape and outdated laws on the books have inhibited the efforts of well-intentioned charities to raise crucial funds in support of their good work,” Governor Cuomo said. “These reforms will modernize our laws, remove burdensome obstacles and allow non-profits to raise more funds from generous New Yorkers to support important causes that improve our communities, protect our environment and help save lives.”

Due to outdated statutes, restrictions and antiquated reporting requirements, these groups have been unable to fully capitalize on charitable fundraising, therefore leaving worthwhile causes underfunded. Governor Cuomo’s measures revamp the many archaic charitable gaming laws to give organizations more flexibility and removes bureaucracy when seeking to raise funds for their charitable purposes.

The proposal consolidates a number of charitable gaming statutes from various sections of law, removing duplicative language to create a single set of laws.  Governor Cuomo’s proposal includes:

• Allowing charitable organizations to sell raffle tickets and conduct games of chance through use of checks, credit and debit cards

• Permitting charitable organizations to conduct games in additional locations (beyond their own, municipal-owned or other charitable organization properties) and make it easier for organizations to get approval for off-site games

• Reducing the number of years that a charitable organization must be in existence from three to one in order to conduct games of chance, in line with the current requirement for bingo operators

• Moving charitable gaming forms and applications online to minimize paperwork for charitable organizations and municipalities

• Lessening restrictions on charitable gaming advertising to include online and off-premise ads

• Formally permitting charitable organizations to conduct gaming on Sundays and remove restricted hours for certain games

• Increasing the prize limitations for bell jar from $500 to $1,000 (maximum aggregate prizes from $3,000 to $6,000) and bingo from $1,000 to $5,000 (maximum aggregate prizes from $3,000 to $15,000)

• Eliminating one of three categories of raffles, thereby simplifying compliance for charitable organizations

• Permitting  alcoholic beverages to be included as prizes for charitable gaming

• Providing flexibility for fee-setting by transferring such provisions from statute to the Gaming Commission regulations

In the coming months, the New York State Gaming Commission will conduct public hearings across the state to gather input from charitable organizations on any additional improvements to New York charitable gaming laws and regulations.

To learn more about charitable gaming in New York, visit www.gaming.ny.gov.

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