State ups fee for charitable Bingo
A handful of Douglas County charitable organizations relying on the proceeds from Bingo to support their good works got a surprise from the state.
A bill passed by the Legislature included increased requirements that will require some adaptation.
According to minutes of the Nevada Legislature, the bill was sought to increase the cap on the amount of money that can be raised by a charity using a raffle or bingo game.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights Foundation associated with the hockey team raised $1.9 million at its 51-49 raffle, which was way above the $500,000 cap.
The bill itself was designed to raise the cap, but in the process of writing it, Nevada Gaming Control said they needed to increase the fee for processing, calling the old $5 charge “antiquated.” In that it wasn’t enough of a fee to process the application.
And that is where the local charities found themselves.
Rick Towner, vice president of Young at Heart, said his group found out about the changes when they sent in their annual registration and were told they had the wrong application and an incorrect fee.
“The fee for annual registration was $5 for the year,” he said. “Now the fee for charitable games is a nonrefundable $25 per scheduled game or raffle.”
He said applications must be submitted 30 days before the game and they’re not allowed to advertise games until it’s approved.
There’s a lot of information required on the application, and the charities are required to keep paperwork including information about announcing winners to the public, and keep records of all winners of $1,000 or more for three years.
“Most of us want to know why charitable organizations are being charged so much, thereby reducing the charitable funds available to the community,” he said.
Towner said he plans on getting charities who conduct Bingo together and ask legislatures to have the new regulations repealed.
“Why mess with charitable organizations that help our communities,” he said. “Young at Heart was a big part of bringing the new community and senior center to realization and it has provided a lot to the growth of our community.”
At least one organization that was holding bingo at the center gave it up this year, but not because of the state.
Carson Valley Sertoma spokeswoman Birgit Okamoto said they had to stop because they were being charged $1,000 for space in the center, which was far more than the $300-$400 a game they were making.
“We simply could not afford to continue to hold our Bingo session and suffer those kinds of losses,” she said.