The coronavirus pandemic has had an economic impact on businesses and organizations across the state, including nonprofits that rely heavily on fundraising events that were prohibited due to restrictions on mass gatherings.
A law that was passed in 2018 could help these groups raise money online, but the New York State Gaming Commission is yet to authorize formal regulations.
The Charitable Gaming Act, which allows organizations to sell raffle tickets online and on mobile apps, went into effect in June of 2018. However, enacting the law was contingent on the gaming commission implementing regulations.
According to the commission, the regulations were submitted for publication in July of 2020, but have not been formally adopted.
Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-47, is urging the commission to make this a priority to help nonprofits across the state recover from the financial impact of the pandemic.
“Many volunteer groups and charitable organizations depend on raising funds through raffles and similar charitable events, especially during this holiday season under pandemic conditions,” said Griffo. "By permitting raffle tickets to be purchased online or by using debit and credit cards, as the Charitable Gaming Act would allow, these fundraisers become even more successful and raise even more money on the behalf of children, the elderly, the disabled and others in need.”
Griffo sent a letter to gaming commissioner chairman, Barry Sample, to announce the regulations as soon as possible.
Read the letter below:
Dear Chairman Sample:
In 2017, Gov. Cuomo signed into law the Charitable Gaming Act. This law was to go into effect in 2018, pursuant to the formulation of regulations by the New York State Gaming Commission. Despite recent contact and conversations with the Commission and executive branch, it remains frustrating, disappointing and unacceptable that, two years later, the necessary regulations required for the Act to go into effect have not yet been promulgated.
Many volunteer groups and charitable organizations depend on raising funds through raffles and similar charitable events, especially during this holiday season under pandemic conditions. By permitting raffle tickets to be purchased online or by using debit and credit cards, as the Charitable Gaming Act would allow, these fundraisers become even more successful and raise even more money on the behalf of children, the elderly, the disabled and others in need.
Unfortunately, due to the Commission’s inability to formulate these important regulations in a timely fashion, the burdensome restrictions concerning how charity raffle tickets can be purchased remain in place. This in turn makes it harder for these organizations to fund important programs and to help our communities and those in need.
I urge you to promulgate the necessary regulations immediately. We are fortunate enough to live in very giving communities, and if someone desires to donate their money through local raffle fundraisers to help people in need, then New York State should not get in the way of their generosity by making it more cumbersome to contribute to these charities.
Joseph A. Griffo
New York State Senator, 47th Senate District