Assembly passes fund-raising law for fire departments, other non-profits

Staff Reports Posted 17 June 2016 at 12:00 am

The State Assembly has approved a legislative bill that would modernize ways for non-profits to collect money for raffles and other fund-raisers.

Current gaming regulations do not allow charitable groups and non-profits to collect raffle fees using check or credit cards and do not allow the sale of tickets outside of the county which the event will be taking place. The Stafford Fire Department previously sold tickets nation-wide for its annual car raffle and used the proceeds for charitable donations and to fund the department.

The new legislation would allow organizations to accept credit and legal tender for raffles, as well as advertising and selling tickets online.

“I am pleased to announce that the ‘Charitable Gaming Act of 2016’ has overwhelmingly passed the Assembly Thursday afternoon,” said State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, co-sponsor of the legislation.

He thanked Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-Kenmore) for pushing the bill through the Assembly, as well as Sen. Patrick Gallivan (R-Elma), the bill’s author in the Senate, Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Amherst) and Sen. Robert Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) for leading the proposal in the Senate.

“I am proud to have helped lead this initiative to update our archaic and detrimental gaming laws that have hurt charitable organizations, churches, non-profit organizations and service clubs all across the state, including the Stafford Fire Department,” Hawley said. “This is a great example of how bipartisan politics can work in Albany’s sea of gridlock and can have lasting positive effects for the people and organizations of our state. The bill is now in the Senate, where I am told by Sen. Gallivan that he is very hopeful it will pass before we adjourn for the year today.”