Helping Our Local Service Organizations
9/20/2012
Our local non-profit civic and service groups are capable of doing great things with regard to community support. But these organizations cannot truly fulfill their missions without sufficient financial resources. To enhance their fundraising ability, the General Assembly has enacted changes to the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act, which was last updated in 1988.

Act 2 of 2012 took effect in March and changed the law as follows: 

        • Increases the maximum prize limit for a single chance from $500 to $1,000. 
        • Increases the maximum weekly prize limit from $5,000 to $25,000 in a seven-day 
            period. 
        • Raises the prize limit for raffles from $5,000 to $10,000 per calendar month. 
        • Allows a raffle to exceed the $1,000 per single chance limit if the organization has 
            obtained a special permit. Eligible organizations can obtain no more than eight 
            special permits per license term, except for volunteer fire, ambulance and 
            rescue organizations which can obtain 10 per license term. Total cash value of 
            all prizes under a special permit is $100,000 per calendar year.

The law now allows clubs that hold liquor licenses to use up to 30 percent of the money raised for the entity’s general operating expenses. The remaining 70 percent of the proceeds would be used for public interest. All other eligible organizations must use proceeds for their own public interest purposes.

I am hopeful the fall session will include action on Senate Bill 444, which further modifies the act by permitting the use of additional games. In June, the House amended the bill to allow selective raffles; wagering on pre-recorded horse races, often referred to as A Night at the Races; coin auctions; 50/50 drawings; and sales of raffle tickets off site. We also expanded the terms of use for profits derived from small games of chance to offer these groups more opportunities.

Act 2 made a number of changes to accounting and reporting requirements for small games of chance licensees. Some of these changes raised concern from many clubs and organizations across the state, and Senate Bill 444 either changes or clarifies some of those requirements.

This bill, in conjunction with Act 2, would give these clubs a chance to give back to the community even more than they already do.

State Representative Curt Sonney
4th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little
slittle@pahousegop.com
717.260.6137
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