On Wednesday, October 14 the House passed a bonding/tax bill and on Thursday, October 15 the Senate did as well. The House made changes to the bill that had been previously negotiated with the Senate. The House adjourned prior to the Senate being able to amend and send it back to the House. Tax relief for licensed gambling charities was in the Senate bill, but was not included in the final bill that passed.
I know that many of you have told me that relief for us would never come, but I am still enough of an optimist to believe that government would do the right thing. I held out hope to the end as misguided as it apparently was. I want to thank Senator Roger Chamberlain for all that he did and tried to do for us. He is a good friend of all of us who work so hard to fulfill our organizations’ missions. I also need to thank Ward Einess, ACM lobbyist, who did everything that he could to see this through. I am proud to call him a friend.
I have never come to grips with why state government would want to dismantle a 75 year old state wide safety net that is comprised of citizens whose only goal is to help those in need. Taxing us out of existence seems completely at odds with the benefits that we provide in our communities throughout the state. ACM and its members have always believed that the closer we are to the needs of our communities, the better positioned we are to assist.
But to give up the fight is to give up hope, and we are not willing to do that. We are resilient and we are committed. There is an election on the horizon. Talk to your candidates for public office; make sure they support tax relief for charities; and then vote. If our voice was not successful at the legislature, perhaps it will be successful in the voting booth. You have the opportunity to make a difference and I hope you will do just that.
There is still time to apply for Regional Director or At Large Director of ACM. Deadline for application is Mon., Oct. 26. Link to the application: http://alliedcharitiesmn.org/sys/website/?pageId=18090
In the past several weeks there have been multiple after hour robberies of pull tab sites in the metro area. Please ensure that your cash is protected at closing. Please talk with employees about what to do if a robbery is attempted during business hours. The best advice is to give the robber what they want, do not risk your life or another person’s life.
Below are some of my most recent thoughts.
What were once people in a community sharing a common goal of helping others has become something altogether different. Dollars meant for helping the less fortunate are now going to the state and those who profit from our efforts.
Site owners are making six figure annual incomes off of charitable gambling and some are making more than the charity.
The distributor/manufacturers are marketing directly to sites without the knowledge of or approval of the charity.
A charity that wants to offer multiple electronic systems to their patrons is told that if the charity tries to proceed with bringing in a competing system that the only thing changing will be the charity. The charity then either accepts or loses the site.
This year the GCB has conducted cash audits across all organizations and is in the process of conducting LPE audits across all organizations. To my knowledge this has never been done before. ACM has always said that individuals/organizations that knowingly defraud need to be punished to the full extent of the law. For the vast majority of gambling managers this is not their day job, it is what they do after work. ACM has said that those individuals/organizations that make mistakes with no malintent need to be educated and mentored not punished.
Our charitable missions were once the number one beneficiary of charitable gambling. Our charitable missions are now number two behind the state. In electronic gambling our charitable missions are number three behind the state and the manufacturer. If there are no interventions, within a few years our charitable missions, the hallmark of charitable gaming, will be number four behind the manufacturer, the state and the site.