|Action||Promulgation of Charitable Gaming Regulations by Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, including electronic gaming provisions|
|Comment Period||Ended on 11/23/2022|
One of the reasons I became a Moose member was to support the Moose Mission and to help communities. But I find it hard to believe that our State Legislatures wish to shut down the business of Fraternal Organizations. I attended the Lobbying session that took place last summer. I was struck by how many of our elected officials have no idea what we do. The American Legions, AmVets, Eagles, Lions, Moose and Elks have served the test of time. We have all given to our community without fail. There is not an adult in this state that has not benefited in one way or another in their lifetime from one of these organizations. Unfortunately, I believe we are dinosaurs now and will soon be extinct.
Asking for these regulations and making them retro active to July 1, 2022 is almost impossible. There will be many lodges and organizations that will be closed within 6 months. I shudder to think of how many by years end of 2023. Back in the day, families in need depended on the kindness and ability of these organizations to help get them through tough times. That way of living is dying out as the government has made it so easy to apply for help and assistance - BUT there are still needs for our organizations. Who will supply the school supplies for kids in need, coats for the winter , food for the food bank? and so much more. As we look at the past 2 years - where would our communities have been if they were unable to rely on the help of these organizations? COVID has changed the way we work - if we work- it has changed our personal lives to a point that some will never be the same.
By burdening a volunteer organization with having to add extra bank accounts, not able to co-mingle gaming funds with other gaming funds; having to do extra paperwork for every raffle, 50/50, bingo, electronic gaming, pull tabs and every other type of charitable gaming; filing quarterly, semi annual and annual reports that include bank statements and copies of checks- I feel that we are under the thumb of Big Brother. How are we going to have time to do our day to day business? We will probably have to hire another employee to do nothing but Charitable Gaming and remember- WE CAN"T USE ANY OF THE GAMING FUNDS TO PAY THEM. Most lodges have limited employees that are paid because after all we are a volunteer based charitable organization. Once you take the tax off the top, the split with the company that we are leasing electronic gaming devices from (50% of the net) and then take 40% to charity- all other funds (less than 10%) must remain in account to be used as dictated by the state. Many are doomed.
I have always said "do not rely on gaming as your only means" in the hopes that our members would know that we need them to donate in every way. Unfortunately the cost of food has gone up and we cannot rely on food sales alone. Events are costly and to make a profit you must make 75% more than the total cost to have the appropriate funds afterwards. Kiss your fraternal organizations goodbye if this is enacted...oh I forgot it has been approved and is retro to July 1, 2022. But keep in mind the forms aren't available yet and we have to file in December for the 3rd quarter.
Our lodge like many others works with several local charitable organizations - they rely on us. The SPCA, Our local fire and rescue, our local cancer center, our nursing homes and memory care facility, our transitional housing and homeless shelter, we give to all of them. We partner with our local Sheriff's Office on projects. We are not just some little hole in the wall...we are part of our community and continue to be. We sponsor scout troops and give freely of our facility for blood drives, lifeline screenings, Our local Rotary, and other clubs that because of covid NOW HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO MEET. We house homeowner association meetings, preschool family Thanksgiving luncheons and Christmas programs, baseball, football and basketball team meetings.( All at NO CHARGE for the use of our hall as many cannot afford to pay to meet somewhere) We celebrate our Veterans and care deeply for our country and state. We are part of a thriving community that needs us as much as we need them. Please spread the word that charitable organizations need help with turning this around.....Breakfast with Santa will be pretty tight this year and may be gone completely by next year