Allied Charities of Minnesota

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  • 26 Aug 2018 13:35 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    See the link to a Star Tribune article dated 08/25/2018

    http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-charitable-gambling-sales-hit-new-high/491718971/

    Members, see the article in the StarTribune today, Sunday August 26.

    Up to today the strategy of government had been to ignore our concerns of over taxation. That strategy changed with today’s article.  We are now being described as self-serving and opportunistic.

    We have finally smoked them out. They have chosen a tactic that is an affront to each and every one of our organizations.  It will be up to us to determine if their strategy works or not.

    Government has repeatedly demonstrated that they do not want to make any changes in our current situation. It is far too lucrative for them and their friends (i.e. the Wilfs). 

    The ball is now in our court to let our future governor, legislators and those in our community know who we really are. As they say “it’s on like Donkey Kong”.

    Here is an example of what is really happening to charitable gaming in Minnesota.  This is the Osseo Lions through FY2018:

    Since FY2013 sales have increased by $1 million +33%

    Since FY2013 taxes have increased by $61,000 +74%

    Since FY2013 payment to site has increased by $21,000 +100%

    Since FY2013 cost of games/rev. share has increased by $50,000 89%

    Since FY2013 mission dollars have decreased by $38,000 -27%

    “Nothing is more liberating than fighting for a cause larger than youself”.  John McCain.

    Below is our response to the article that was sent to the StarTribune today.

    MN charitable gambling sales hit new high (StarTribune 08/25/2018).

    $2 billion dollars in sales in fiscal year 2018.  Hard to wrap your mind around.  Let me peel the onion back a little for you.  We paid out $1.7 billion in prizes to our patrons who play our games.  We were left with $300 million to pay expenses, taxes and make donations.  $75 million went to our 10,000 employees (an average of $7500 per person annually).  $75 million went to other expenses (vendors, rent, etc.). $80 million went to the state in taxes and fees, leaving us with $70 million for our communities and missions.

    After citing two shining examples of stewardship (Blain Hockey and KC’s of Columbus) the reader was left to conclude that the rest of us are rather self serving, a conclusion that those of us raising funds for our communities and missions would dispute.

    Of the 1150 licensed organizations throughout the state, the majority of gambling managers are paid the equivalent of the minimum wage.

    Allied Charities of Minnesota (501c6 trade organization representing licensed gaming charities) has repeatedly asked the Gambling Control board for guidance on gambling manager pay (all other employees are under mandated state/federal guidelines) and the GCB has refused to help.

    Each organization needs to decide what to pay (if anything) their gambling manager. One of the considerations is that they need to be able to speak to that amount when questioned, either by members or those outside of the organization. Factors going into compensation are number of sites, number of employees, total dollars involved, hours worked and bottom line mission dollars delivered to the organization.

    Charitable gaming in Minnesota is under attack from those that benefit from our labors that would not otherwise be thought of as needing mission dollars.  While our sales and taxes have doubled the past five years our mission dollars have not. The charity is being taken out of charitable gaming.  For the state to be taking more money from us than we have for our communities and missions, yet describe us as self-serving is interesting to say the least.

    Allen Lund

    Executive Director Allied Charities of Minnesota

    Proud member of the Lions and American Legion


  • 24 Aug 2018 05:26 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Members,

    “The power of our elected officials is nothing compared to the power within the people” (anon).

    We need to remember that saying. We have a once-in-a-many-years opportunity to be heard in the next 75 days before we decide who is going to represent us as governor for the next four years.

    Both candidates (D-Tim Walz, R-Jeff Johnson) will try to find ways to connect to "community vitality." You will be able to ask them about their support of local foundations such as yours and your desire to keep more of the funds that you raise local instead of sending the majority of it to St. Paul.

    Both candidates (R-Jeff Johnson, D-Tim Walz) are committed to being available to citizens -- forums, one-on-one events, etc. You will see a lot of the candidates and see them in situations where they can be questioned, pressed, etc.

    This is our last big chance to change the face of charitable gaming.  If we elect a governor who believes in us and what we do, our chances of getting change next year will increase dramatically.

    We need to press candidates (both governor and house) at every opportunity about preserving charitable community foundations such as ours. How we raise our funds is not the issue.  Our foundations are raising the money for life-saving emergency equipment, new ball fields, environmental protection, and programs to help troubled kids. All the other things that make our communities great places to live.

    In spite of our demonstrated success, Gov. Dayton has shown that he does not appreciate what we do in our local communities, choosing to NOT RETURN money raised locally to our communities to address pressing local needs, but to build downtown Minneapolis. We like the Vikings, but why should rural Minnesota be the primary funders of a billion-dollar stadium?

    As they say “speak now or forever hold your peace”.

    Regards,

    Al


  • 16 Aug 2018 06:57 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Members,

    Peace.  What a beautiful word. The dictionary says that it is a time free from disturbance, a period of quiet and tranquility. Something that I think that all of us can agree is a worthy goal.

    The years 30 BC to 250 AD became known as Pax Romana or Roman Peace.  A great time if you were a part of the Roman ruling class, but not so much if you weren’t. Anyone disagreeing with Roman law was dealt with swiftly and severely.  There was no debate or exchange of ideas. It was really peace at all cost.   

    I am sure that there were non-Romans who attempted to quiet the early Christians who were spreading the good word.  Don’t you see that you are only making trouble for us?  Better to keep quiet than to risk harm from those in charge.  We may not have as much as we once had, but at least we have something. 

    Just this week ACM was reminded that for profit gambling is conducted by bars in other states; the apparent inference being that what the state gives the state can take away. 

    We are rapidly descending to the bottom run of the profit ladder.  I am now hearing from charities and for-profit entities that ACM rabble rousing is only getting charities in trouble; better to be silent and have something for the needy than to get it taken away from us and have nothing.

    If we thought for one second that those profiting from our labors would one day say that they are satisfied with their profits ACM would not be as ardent of a critic.   

    Charity was the reason for our being.  It no longer seems to be so.

    Do not let “peace at all cost” become the mantra for today.  Talk to your legislators, talk to those in need about what is happening to your mission dollars.  Silence is not the answer, action is.

    Regards,


  • 04 Aug 2018 09:01 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Members,

    As we await the FY2018 numbers (we will probably not see the GCB FY2018 annual report until November) I took a look back at the years 2013 – 2017 to see who profited the most from the 2012 stadium bill. The Vikings took first place, increasing their net worth by $1.425 billion ($9.75 million to $2.4 billion). Next was the state, increasing their net by $31 million ($39 million to $70 million).  In last place was us at $13 million ($53 million to $66 million). 

    I wanted to show you what the bars and distributor/manufacturers have netted over the same time period, but that information was not in the FY2013 GCB annual report. I asked the GCB for the information, but was told that ACM will no longer be provided information free of charge when requested. 

    Our detractors say “see, you made more as well, everything is coming up roses”. These are the same folks that want what we do to be called lawful gambling rather than charitable gambling. When I say that the charity is being taken out of charitable gambling I say it to decry our current situation. The focus is no longer on “charity”: our missions have taken a back seat to maximizing profit for the state and those that profit from our labors.

    I have firsthand knowledge of individuals coming to Minnesota to buy bars with the expressed purpose of cashing in on charitable gambling by running a bar op. Charitable gambling in Minnesota is becoming known nationally as a get rich quick scheme for everyone but the charity.

    When I ask charities that have had their mission dollars decrease over the last several years why they are not screaming from the rooftops for change I get two answers. One is that it will make no difference, nobody listens to us and no changes will be forthcoming. Two is that if they do make noise they are in fear of losing their site.  Those of us that are not in jeopardy of losing our sites need to get in the game.  We need to be the voice for the voiceless. We need to do everything possible to save charitable gambling before the charitable component is lost forever.


  • 01 Aug 2018 08:35 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Attached you find a letter that Allied Charities President Rich Jaranson sent to the Gambling Control Board Chair Bill Goede on June 21 outlining several concerns that the ACM board has regarding recent actions of the GCB.  To date no response has been received.

    Chair Goede 06212018.pdf

  • 17 Jul 2018 09:40 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Members,

    Attached please find a Star Tribune article (July 13) on the Minnesota Lottery winner of $1 million through their new method of distribution by app.  Also included is my letter to the editor in regards to this new method of distribution published on July 14.

    The Gambling Control Board unveils its on line training curriculum tomorrow, Tuesday, July 17.  The first offering will be on Sports Themed Tip Boards.  Completion of the course will meet the annual continuing education requirement.  Gambling Managers will no longer be required to travel to meet the annual education requirement.  Here is the link to the GCB education page: https://mn.gov/gcb/continuing-education.html

    At the monthly Gambling Control Board meeting today was a request by Pilot Games to continue the subsidy of 5% (20% instead of the 15% in statute) that electronic bingo manufacturers can charge charities if approved by the GCB.  The original intent of the 5% was to provide additional funds to a manufacturer for start up costs related to offering e-bingo.  This was the fifth year that Pilot Games has asked for the additional 5%.  I was asked for my thoughts on the additional 5% and I asked for some fiscal justification of the continued subsidy.  My final remark was that the board needed to decide if Pilot Games needed the money more than the charities do.  Jon Weaver provided remarks for Pilot Games.  After the discussion was completed the board voted unanimously to continue the subsidy for Pilot Games.  Up until this year ACM has supported the additional 5%, but now is asking when a subsidy that was never intended to be permanent becomes permanent?

    Regards,

    Al Lund

    minnesotalottery07132018.pdf


  • 08 Jun 2018 08:06 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Members and Associate Members,

    Due to circumstances beyond our control (hotel is renovating) we are moving the location of our monthly ACM board meetings for the remainder of the year.  Our June 18, August 20, September 17, October 15 and December 17 meetings will be held at the Country Inn and Suites at 2740 North Snelling Avenue Roseville, MN 55113.  Our meetings start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the monthly Gambling Control Board meetings, typically at 11 am.  All members and associate members are welcome.  ACM does not have a July board meeting and our November board meeting is at convention. 

    Legalizing of sports betting is already happening in several states.  From what I can see it is happening in states that have very little charitable/social gaming.  If you have not shared the attached op-ed piece with your legislators you need to do that.  Those that are looking to have sports betting approved in Minnesota predict that dollars bet annually will be in the billions.  Sports betting is high stakes gambling pure and simple.  Quartz Media says that there are over 1000 ways to bet (called prop bets) on a football game that do not depend on the score or outcome of the game.  In Las Vegas a person can bet the proverbial farm on each and every bet made.   This is serious gambling and needs to be regulated and taxed at the very least as much as charitable/social gaming is.  Charitable gaming operates under 200+ pages of rules/statutes.  Having sports betting become legal in Minnesota with only a handful of pages of rules/statutes would be a serious disservice to all Minnesotans and the safety net that charitable gaming has provided to the state for over 70 years. 

    Sports themed tip boards are coming, just not yet.  There were no sports themed tip boards submitted for approval for the June GCB board meeting, which means that the first ones would not come up for approval until the July GCB board meeting.  Manufacturers/Distributors are working with the GCB to design boards that conform to existing statute.  The silver lining for us is sports themed tip boards are not subject to the state gambling tax.  The average charity would need to sell at least $4000 worth of pull tabs to equal the net profit from one $10 per square 100 square sports themed tip board.  See the attached update from the Gambling Control Board regarding sports themed tip boards.

    Regards,

    Al  Lund

    Op-ed sports book 05222018.pdf

    sttbs-and-charitable-gambling.pdf


  • 06 Jun 2018 09:49 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    The Ramada Plaza has informed us for the second month in a row that they will not be able to accommodate ACM for our monthly board meeting.  As such we have found new quarters for our monthly meetings for the remainder of 2018.  Starting with our June 18 meeting we will be meeting at the Country Inn and Suites in Roseville at 2740 North Snelling Avenue, Roseville, MN 55113.  All members and associate members are welcome to attend.  Meetings start 30 minutes (typically 11 am) after the conclusion of the monthly Gambling Control Board meeting, which meets at 10 am at the GCB offices.  Meeting dates for the remainder of the year at the Country Inn and Suites are: June 18, August 20, September 17, October 15 and December 17.  Our November board meeting will be at convention in Bemidji at the Sanford Center on Thursday, November 15.  

  • 24 May 2018 08:55 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Attached are an article on sports book and an op-ed submitted to the Star Tribune.

    sportsgamblingarticle05222018.pdf

    Op-ed sports book 05222018.pdf

  • 24 May 2018 08:52 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    The 2018 Legislative session in review:

    As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say.  I just watch what they do.  Andrew Carnegie.

    The 2018 legislative session is now over.  There were several bills passed in the last days that are now on the governor’s desk.  He has fourteen days to either sign or veto them.  Charitable gaming is not included in any of these bills. 

    This year charitable gaming had nine bills in play; 3 tax relief related and 6 policy related.  Not one made it to the governor for his signature.  The house and the senate both have republican majorities.  Watch what they do.

    The legislature provided more than one billion dollars of tax relief in the 2017/2018 biennium without one dollar going to charitable gaming.  Not even our sales tax relief of $2 million dollars made it to the governor’s desk.  Governor Dayton did not indicate that he had an issue with sales tax relief for us.  How do I know that?  Because the fiscal note on sales tax relief was realistic.  When a sitting governor (no matter which political party) has no issue with or supports a proposal, the fiscal note is realistic or even low balled.  When the governor does not support the proposal, the fiscal note comes back highly inflated.  That is what happened with the fiscal note on our donations being exempt (HF226/SF419), our fiscal note was double what the real cost would have been.  Watch what they do.

    I thank the house, specifically Chair Knoblach for authoring and Chair Davids for putting the sales tax relief in the house omnibus tax bill.  Thanks to Chair Dettmer for all of his support in the house.  You need to ask your senator the reason that they did not put relief for us in their omnibus bill.  What (or who) is the hold up?

    Even the task force bill to study our tax structure went nowhere.  Those that do not want change for us could ill afford a study saying that we are being taken advantage of.  Watch what they do.

    This was a frustrating session in the sense that we could not get traction on our bills.  Getting authors was difficult and getting hearings was even more so.  I tried repeatedly to find out what was going on and was met with silence.  Eventually I pieced together the story that the republican majority was not pleased with our rabble rousing for tax relief as they believed that we were blaming them for not getting relief.  I was told by the republican majority that the governor was the one stopping relief for us.  I found that hard to believe.  I do believe that the governor would have liked nothing better than to veto one of our bills, but the republican majority never gave him that chance.  It would have been political genius to send the governor a bill (as in HF226/SF419) with tax relief for us knowing that he would veto it.  Think of the hay that the republicans could have made with that this upcoming election cycle.    

    The message was that the limited action on our bills and none getting to the governor’s desk was our reward for biting the hand that feeds us.  The inference was that if we would have just kept quiet we would have gotten relief.  If you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I would sell you at a reasonable price.  This behavior is what happens on elementary school playgrounds, it has no place at the legislature.  It is my job to advocate for you and I will do that as long as I possibly can.  I have very few friends among the politicians at the Capitol.  I count you all as my friends, folks that work their tails off for three cents on the dollar to make their communities a better place to live. 

    There were three positives that did come out of the 2018 session:

    • 1.       We stopped the Daily Fantasy Sports bill.  Giving the keys to the state to for profit companies based outside of Minnesota did not pass. 
    • 2.       For five years we were told that there could be no relief for us as the stadium bill was locked up tighter than Fort Knox.  We now know that was a big fat whopper. 
    • 3.       We now know that the stadium reserve fund is cash rich and legislators are not afraid to spend it, just not on us to date.    

    We made a difference.   We stood up for ourselves.  We did the right thing for our missions and our communities.   While it did not yield tax relief we made progress. 

    From a few days after the 2018 legislative session concludes until the day before the 2019 session begins next January there will be hundreds of fund raising events for legislators and their respective parties.  The price to play in this arena is hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars per event.  Lobbyists, PACs and for profit companies will contribute millions of dollars in anticipation of favorable outcomes in future legislative sessions.  ACM will not be at any of these events as it is against the law for us to give money to legislators.  Even if it were legal, we could never compete with for profit companies.  I have never seen a study (and probably never will) that cross references donations with favorable legislative action (either policy, bonding or tax relief), but that would be an interesting piece.

    Our greatest strength is also our Achilles’ heel.  We persevere no matter what the odds.  We will cinch our belts a little tighter and lean a little more into the wind.  We will not give in, we will not give up.   Government knows this and uses it against us.  Watch what they do.

    A politician’s Achilles’ heel is that once elected they soon come to believe that they are untouchable.  They take to heart what the lobbyists tell them about how smart and above average they are.  Accompany that with money and more money and most of us would also succumb.  Those that inhabit 44.952 degrees north/93.1022 degrees west come to see themselves as something quite special.  Our legislators are not royalty, they are not more important than you or I.  They are there to represent their constituency.  They do not need to agree with everything that you think needs to be done, but they need to be able to articulate a cogent argument as to why not when they don’t. 

    I am coming to believe that we are seen by our government as a competitor.  No other explanation for our poor treatment by government makes any sense.  Our legislators stand idly by as our seventy three year old state wide safety net dissolves in front of their very eyes.  Why would legislators keep taking more money from us than is needed when our only reason for existing is to help the less fortunate?  Legislators can tell us all they want that they care about what we do, but giving us no relief for our confiscatory tax burden is the true indication of what they really think of us.  Watch what they do.

    We were used in 2012 to get a stadium built.  Our message to government is that the stadium is built, you got what you wanted.  The stadium reserve fund balance shows that it is now time to lighten up on the charities.  Not doing so makes you appear to be mean and spiteful.  Not a legacy to strive for. 

    Closed circuit to LBV of BWI.  Time to tell you know who to lighten up.  Cannot believe that this is what you want.  Call me when you are not busy.    

    This summer we will work on legislative initiatives for the 2019 session.  I believe that having our donations exempt and changing the combined receipt brackets to 6/12/18/24% are two things that are worthy of our consideration and long overdue.  I hope that you agree.

    I would never tell you who to vote for, but you will have the opportunity this November 6 to decide who represents you.  I urge you to exercise that right.

    Fate whispers to the warrior “you cannot withstand the storm”.  The warrior whispers back “I am the storm”.  Author unknown.

    Be the storm.


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