Senator Gallivan Leads Push to Implement Charitable Gaming Act of 2017

Patrick M. Gallivan

June 06, 2017

Legislation Brings Sale of Raffle Tickets Into the 21st Century

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) joined colleagues from the Senate and the Assembly, and representatives of various charitable organizations to push for passage of legislation (S.4329/A6095) that would amend state law in relation to the sale of raffle tickets for bona fide charitable  organizations.  The changes will allow non-profit groups to sell raffle tickets via the internet and provide for additional payment options for raffles and other fundraising activities.

"Volunteer fire departments, veterans groups and other charitable organizations long relied on raffles as a way to support the services and programs they provide in the community,” Gallivan said.  “These changes will allow groups to promote and sell raffle tickets online in order to reach their fundraising goals and enhance their services.” 

Senator Gallivan sponsored the bill in the Senate after learning that out-dated regulations limited organizations when it came to raffles, 50/50 prizes and other games of chance.  Under existing rules, online sales and debit and credit card payments are prohibited.

"These changes bring this outdated portion of state law into the twenty-first century,” said Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-C-I, Kenmore), who sponsors the bill in the Assembly.  “People predominately pay with debit and credit cards, and this will allow them to do that. Additionally, many people use their phones to purchase tickets of various kinds. Changing to a digital friendly format will facilitate a much smoother and easier way for charitable organizations to raise funds for the important causes they support.”

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) said;  “Regulations governing charitable fund-raisers have long needed to be updated.  Over the past several years, I have heard from several charities in my community depending on raffles to provide funding for valuable programs that help many people.  Their ability to raise the money they need for their services is significantly hindered when they cannot conduct their raffles on the Internet, or accept debit or credit card payments for tickets.  Many people do not have time to get to the charity’s offices in person to pay for raffle tickets with cash.  Changing these laws will allow these charities to increase raffle ticket sales, and expand the number of people they help in our communities.”

Senator Mike Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) said;  “Volunteer fire companies and service organizations are under pressure every day to raise money in order to support their mission.  This is especially true in our rural communities.  It is imperative that we give these community organizations access to the resources they need to best serve residents. The Charitable Gaming Act of 2017 modernizes outdated guidelines to recognize the changing ways that people participate in today's economy.  I will continue to work with Senator Gallivan to do all I can to advance this important legislation.”

Senator John J. Bonacic (R-C-I, Mt. Hope) said;  “Charitable organizations across the state are being hindered by our antiquated games of chance fundraising laws and the loss of revenue is hurting the services they provide in our communities.  We took a step forward in the budget by enacting some long overdue reforms, but more must be done.  I applaud Senator Gallivan for his legislation which will modernize the sale of raffle tickets and greatly assist in increasing sales.”

Senator Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, said;  “Many of the volunteer groups and charitable organizations throughout New York will not be able to continue doing good things for our community if our state gets in the way of their ability to raise funds through online raffle tickets. If we are fortunate to have many people who are willing to give generously to these groups, then we in the Legislature and the Governor should do everything in our power to make it easier for these people to donate online on behalf of those in need.”

Rich Jureller, President of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation said;  "Having the ability to run our raffle online, and to take debit and credit cards as payment will greatly enhance the ability of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation to raise additional funds, and to continue to assist worthy charities in Western New York.  We appreciate and commend the efforts of Senator Gallivan and Assemblyman Schmminger in leading the effort in Albany to get this important measure enacted."

Jerry DeLuca, Executive Director & CEO of the NYS Association of Fire Chiefs said;  "In an era when every fire department budget is stretched thin, this legislation will allow volunteer fire departments and many other organizations to raise additional funds in a very convenient manner. So many people no longer carry cash that it is important that we provide them with the opportunity to use credit and debit cards to assist community organizations.”

Steven Bulger, CEO/Executive Director of Kids Oneida, Utica said;  “At Kids Oneida, we are able to provide innovative and effective supports to families in the Mohawk Valley through funding provided by New York State and the municipalities we serve.   The proposed Charitable Gaming Act of 2017 will provide Kids Oneida with another avenue to raise funds to sustain our mission while supporting the vision of keeping families together.” 

Scott H. Perra, president/CEO of the Mohawk Valley Health System said; “Updating the gaming rules for charitable organizations positively supports every charity in the state of New York. The current restrictions impact all of us – healthcare and service organizations, charities that support research and specialized services – all of us whose mission is to provide for our communities. The proposed change to the gaming rules will allow every charity to accept checks as well as credit and debit cards – thus moving New York State and our non-profits into the 21st century.”

The bill passed the Senate and Assembly in 2016 but was vetoed by the Governor.  In response, additional amendments are being prepared.