This article was written by Haydee Clotter and originally appeared on Lakeland Public Television on Aug. 15, 2017. View the original article here.
$1.7 billion: that’s how much Minnesotans spent on gambling last year. Allied Charities of Minnesota (ACM) represents the 1,200 licensed charitable organizations in the state. They invited local organizations to the Bemidji Eagles Club to examine the future of charitable gaming.
“Just to see what’s on their minds, talk about the issues we feel are important and just to get a sense on what we need to be working for, especially looking towards the 2018 legislative session,” said Allied Charities of Minnesota Executive Director Allen Lund.
ACM is holding 12 sessions around the state where they spark a conversation focusing on the what local charities are dealing with. There seems to be a growing consensus on one issue.
“Taxes and the increase that is going to the state, which turns into less money for us for our missions and our communities,” said Lund.
Lund says this would indicate that charitable organizations are becoming tax collectors for the state and that’s what ACM wants to avoid. Nothing is set in stone and must go through the state legislature first, and there’s something you can do about it now.
“Contact our legislators and let them know how important this is and the issues that confront the local communities,” said Lund. “The needs in our local communities are growing and we want to be able to meet those. We believe the people that raise the money know best where that money should go.”
For the 2016 fiscal year, pull tabs were pretty popular and brought in nearly $1.5 billion in sales. The proceeds from lawful gambling are used for anything ranging from youth activities to the support of non-licensed veterans’ clubs.
“Our business grew by 1-2 percent, while the state’s business, their take, grew from high teens to low twenties,” said Lund. “So on an increase of $194 million in sales, we netted $1 million. That’s a grave concern to us.”
It’s a requirement for a majority of organizations to spend at least 30 percent of their net profits on lawful purposes and that includes taxes.