Limited Charitable Gaming Helping Community

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082213 Gaming Clubs 1AStaff Report

Recognition is being given to key members of the non-profit community and area lawmakers for maintaining programs benefiting Milford-area residents.The Milford Moose Lodge recently hosted an informal dinner thanking those who helped enact a new law allowing charitable slot machine gambling.

For many years, veterans’ groups and other non-profit organizations operated electronic gaming machines inside the facilities serving their membership and guests. State law enforcement officials informed the groups in November that the gaming machines were illegal. They warned that the clubs’ members could be prosecuted unless operations were immediately shut down.

Without the gaming revenue, many organization leaders said they would not be able to maintain programs helping the elderly, physically challenged and needy. The 147th General Assembly convened in January, passing a bipartisan law allowing for the temporary resumption of charitable gaming while a permanent answer was crafted – a solution that was enacted earlier this summer.

Under the new law, qualified charitable organizations with less than 500 members can operate up to 10 video lottery machines. Larger groups are allowed one additional machine for every 70 members above that threshold. The groups receive 60 percent of the net proceeds, with two-fifths of that money mandated to fund charitable works. The state receives the balance of revenue to pay for administrative expenses, including the cost of the leased slot machines and help for compulsive gamblers and their families.

In 2012, Delaware’s 11 Moose lodges collectively generated $528,000 in gaming revenue said Moose Lodge Regional Government Relations Coordinator Bessie Staab-Hickman. However, she added that the groups returned more than $700,000 through programs benefiting the community.

In photo: Back row, from left: Connie DeYoung, Dover Elks’ past exalted ruler; State Reps. Harvey Kenton, Dave Wilson & Bobby Outten; John G. Mitchell, VFW Sr. Vice Commander, Department of Delaware. Front row, from left: Bessie Staab-Hickman, Moose Lodge DE-MD-DC Government Relations Coordinator; State Rep. Jack Peterman; Jim Lofland, Senior Governor, Moose Lodge 2316 (Milford): and State Rep. Ruth Briggs King.