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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • When does fundraising become gambling?

  •      The Kansas constitution outlaws gambling.

         Amendments have enabled specific forms of gambling including bingo, pari-mutuel, state lottery and, in the expanded lottery act of 2007, the creation of four casino districts in the state.


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  •      The Kansas constitution outlaws gambling.
         Amendments have enabled specific forms of gambling including bingo, pari-mutuel, state lottery and, in the expanded lottery act of 2007, the creation of four casino districts in the state.
         As part of the 2007 legislation, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission was given responsibility for monitoring illegal gaming.
         Recently, a number of organizations across the state have been notified that their fundraising plans are considered illegal gaming.
         "We've seen an increase in the number of phone calls we've gotten asking us to investigate specific instances," said Bill Miskell, public information officer for Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission.
         In addition to the increase in calls about gambling, another factor has affected the frequency of such investigations: until the recent opening of the Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway, staff at KRGC were focused primarily of working to ensure that the state's three casinos were in full compliance with existing regulations. Now that the three casinos are up and running, the staff can turn more of their attention to various forms of illegal gaming, including charitable fundraising.
         This has brought a stop to a number of traditional events which generate funding for non-profit agencies — such events as poker runs and raffles.
         The problem
         In order to be considered illegal, three elements must be present in the planned activity: consideration, chance and a prize.
         Consideration is essentially an entry fee or price of a raffle ticket — any requirement to "pay to play."
         "When we talk to an organization that's planning an event that is not legal, we work to see if there's a way to modify that event and make it comply with regulations," Miskell said.
         For example, if the organization is planning a raffle of a large prize that's been donated, KRGC might suggest a silent auction instead.
         "We had an example of a lady who called us and was planning a poker run the next day and we were able to work with her to adjust the event so it was compliant with Kansas law and her event went on the next day as planned," Miskell said.
         Unfortunately, just because the proceeds from an event will go to charity does not exempt the event from Kansas statutes.
         "The work that these organizations are doing is so important, and they're doing it for vets and kids — but there's no exception carved out in the law for them," Miskell said.
         The KRGC encourages organizations planning fundraising events to contact the agency well ahead of the event to discuss any questions.
         "We ask them to call us at (785) 296-5800 or e-mail us at krgc@krgc.ks.gov and we'll try to find a solution. There's not always a way to make that happen," Miskell said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Fixing the problem
         Organizations whose annual events have been canceled have been calling their legislators. While the KRGC commission's function is to enforce the laws that are on the books, there is growing discussion in the state about changing those laws. Such a change might involve a constitutional amendment and a package of enabling legislation to put into effect.
         "There are states which have systems where bona fide not-for-profit organizations that have been in operation for a minimum number of years can submit plans in advance and proceed with the kinds of activities in question," Miskell said.
     
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