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Pickett Says Updated Small Games Proposals Seek to Benefit Charitable Endeavors
11/19/2013
HARRISBURG – As a way to help nonprofit organizations throughout the state and locally in the 110th District, Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) supported two pieces of legislation to further enhance the ability of charitable organizations and clubs to raise funds through the operation of small games of chance.

Pickett, who earlier this session served as the chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee and participated in key negotiations on House Bill 290, said that the legislation makes numerous improvements to the state’s Small Games of Chance Act – all in an effort to benefit the charitable works happening in local communities.

“When our organizations hold Race Night games, raffles or Chinese auctions, they want to follow the letter of the law,” Pickett said. “However, under the most recent updates to the law we enacted last year, some of those items were not fully addressed. This legislation makes it legal for many of the games that have been played in our areas for decades to continue, and also addresses the paperwork burden for many of the smaller organizations.”

Under House Bill 290, numerous changes are being made to the Small Games of Chance Act, including the addition of allowable games such as Race Night games, Chinese auction (raffle auction) and pools; increases in prize limits; and permits for special raffles.

In addition, the definition of “public interest purpose” includes charitable or historic activities and nonprofit youth sports activities, services to support or honor veterans and activities relating to the provision of volunteer fire and rescue activities. This includes the activities of Veterans for Foreign Wars (VFW) posts and American Legions – and this applies to a club that is affiliated with a VFW or American Legion, such as a Ladies Auxiliary, to give proceeds to their home organizations.

For record-keeping purposes, the legislation increases from $100 to $600 the threshold for which an organization must record the name and address of a winner and a receipt given to the winner. In addition, all reporting requirements are removed for eligible organizations that do not hold a liquor license, and organizations do not have to undergo background checks for their officers or maintain a separate bank account if they generate less than $40,000 in proceeds.

License fees are also increased from $100 to $125 for a regular license, but a new license is being created for a $25 fee for those organizations to conduct games for a 30-day consecutive period and removes provisions for a limited occasion license.

Lastly, the state police’s Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (LCE) will not be able to enforce the small games of chance law with organizations that solely have a special occasion permit for alcohol sales. LCE will retain enforcement power over any Liquor Code violations of these organizations.

“Our intent with these bills is to ensure the right balance between accountability and regulation and that every dollar raised through these small games of chance is being used for those worthy purposes,” Pickett said. “I am hopeful that these bills will allow our organizations greater flexibility and address the concerns they brought to us.”

In addition to House Bill 290, another proposal in House Bill 1098, which passed the House last week, addresses organizations with liquor licenses that are deemed to be “clubs” in the law and allows them greater flexibility in terms of reporting requirements, clarifies the distribution of proceeds and increases the amount of proceeds a licensed organization may retain.

Representative Tina Pickett
110th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
(717) 705-2094
jkeaton@pahousegop.com  
RepPickett.com / Facebook.com/RepPickett
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