Bill S2427-2013

Eases certain restrictions on the conducting of bingo games for charitable purposes

Eases certain restrictions on the conducting of bingo games for charitable purposes; authorizes the payment, out of the net proceeds of bingo games, of reimbursement for reasonable expenses of volunteers working at the games; expands the frequency upon which bingo games may be held; increases the maximum amount of a bingo prize from $1,000 to $1,500 and the aggregate prizes from $3,000 to $4,000; authorizes auxiliary members of authorized organizations to conduct bingo games; authorizes persons convicted of crimes to conduct bingo games when participating in a rehabilitation program; authorizes the conducting of bingo games on Sundays; expands advertising of bingo games.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO RACING, GAMING AND WAGERING
  • Jan 17, 2013: REFERRED TO RACING, GAMING AND WAGERING

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2427

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general municipal law, in relation to the conducting of bingo by certain organizations

PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to update the provisions that govern the conduct of bingo games in New York. Article 14-H of the General Municipal Law was first codified in 1957 and has not been substantially modified since that date. The operation of bingo games raises significant funds for not-for-profit organizations that helps to support their charitable purposes. However, the change in lifestyles and entertainment venues since the 1960's has substantially curtailed the amount of bingo money raised by charitable organizations to support their charitable purposes. This bill hopes to encourage more volunteers to participate in bingo games and reduce overhead costs that could then be shifted to supporting those designated charitable purposes.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Amends General Municipal Law section 476 to update definitions that are used in Article 14-H that govern the regulation of bingo games. Among the definitions that are modified are the inclusion of the term "auxiliary member". This definition is currently included in the law, but is buried in the body of the General Municipal Law. It updates the definition of "net proceeds" to better reflect the kinds of expenses that charitable organizations incur to operate bingo games. This provision slightly increases the number of times and number of games of bingo that that occur during the calendar year. Also, a definition for "reasonable expenses incurred by a volunteer" has been included

Section 2: Amends General Municipal Law section 479 to permit auxiliary members of a charitable organization to participate in the management and operation of such games. This provision was added to reflect the current problem that charitable organizations are facing in securing volunteers to manage and conduct bingo games. Further, it permits the charitable organization to reimburse volunteers for their reasonable expenses incurred to volunteer for conducting such games. The items would be limited transportation costs, babysitting costs to watch children while parents help conduct bingo games. To avoid abuse of this section, the Board could adopt rules or standards to specify the kinds of reimbursable expenses which could be allowed for volunteers. This provision also increases the prize limit from $ 1,000 to $ 1,500 and the aggregate prize value from $ 3,000 to $ 4,000 to reflect the devaluation of the prizes due to inflation. The last time the prize limits were increased was in 1957, the last year of the Governor Harriman Adminis- tration. Since 1957, New York has had Governors Rockefeller, Carey, Cuomo, Pataki, Spitzer, and now Andrew Cuomo.

Section 3: Amends General Municipal Law section 480 to revise how reasonable expenses of volunteers of a charitable organization can be paid for to increase the pool of volunteers who can assist in the conduct of bingo games.

Section 4: Amends General Municipal Law section 481 to update provisions related to those who have been convicted of a crime to conduct bingo games, if the charitable organization that is sponsoring such bingo games has as its charitable purposes the charge of assisting and rehabilitating those who have committed crimes or convicted of drug offenses. There are probably worse things that a formerly convicted individual could be doing once released from prison than helping to conduct a game of bingo that is under the supervision of a rehabilitation services program. This provision also slightly increases the ceiling on the single and aggregate prize award from, respectively, $ 1,000 to $ 1,500 and $3,000 to $ 4,000. Again, these caps were instituted in 1957, the same year that the '57 Chevy was manufactured.

Section 5: Amends General Municipal Law section 483 to delete references to the Bingo Control Board, which went out of existence in 1977, and whose duties were shifted to the Racing & Wagering Board in the same year.

Section 6: Amends General Municipal Law section 485 to change the default on conducting bingo games on Sunday from being prohibited unless authorized by the local municipality to being permitted unless the local municipality opts to prohibit such games on Sunday.

Section 7: Amends General Municipal Law section 466 to permit those who are 15 to 18 years old to help conduct games of bingo as long as they are accompanied by a parent or another adult. Under current law, children can participate in bingo games as long as they are accompanied by an adult. This bill will increase the pool of volunteers that could help to conduct bingo games, provide assistance at the snack stand and hand out bingo cards. Since 1957, the world has changed. With the expanded used of the internet, internet gambling, and questionable material that is readily available to children on the internet, it seems outdated that a teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 are prohibited from assisting their parents or other adults in passing out bingo cards to game participants. In today's society, there are probably much worse things that a teenager could be doing than helping a charitable organization conduct a bingo game.

Section 8: Amends General Municipal Law section 487 to increase the frequency at which bingo games can be conducted from 18 to 27 days in any three successive calendar months.

Section 9: Amends General Municipal Law section 468 to reformat this section so that the definition of auxiliary member of a charitable organization is contained not in this section, but shifted to the definitions section contained in bill section one.

Section 10: Amends General Municipal Law section 490 to modernize the types of advertising that can be done to promote bingo game nights. It permits the use of emails and government access television broadcasts. Also, it allows volunteer ambulance companies to display signs advertising bingo events as is now the case for volunteer fire companies. When this law was first enacted in 1957, ambulance corps were generally associated with a fire company. Since then, the free standing volunteer ambulance company is more common, so this provision was amended to include such free standing ambulance squads.

Section 11: Amends General Municipal Law section 491 to extend from 7 days to 10 days in which file municipal reports on gross receipts from bingo games. Since these reports are prepared and filed by charitable organization volunteers, this extension in the time period will in effect give them not just one, but two full weekends to prepare and file reports on gross receipts.

JUSTIFICATION: The conduct of bingo games, in the past, has raised substantial funds to support the charitable purposes of those organization that conduct such games. However, the total amount wagered and more importantly the profit that is retained by these charitable organizations has been steadily declining. In 2000, total bingo handle generated in New York was $178,011,000, however in 2010 that total handle declined by $104,000,000 to a total of $74,000,000. More importantly, the profits generated by bingo games has imploded from $38,047,000 in 2000 to $10,800,000 in 2010. That is an annual reduction in support for New York's charitable organizations of $27,200,000.

There are many reasons for this reduction in revenue generated to support charitable organizations. The most important is the reduced number and pool of volunteers available to conduct and manage such games. This bill addresses this by allowing volunteers to get at least some of their out-of-pocket expenses for volunteering to conduct such games such as child care costs and gas money when volunteering, and allowing teenagers over the age of 15 to assist other adults in conducting the games and operating the snack bar. second, the means of advertising bingo games needs to be modernized to include those forms of communication that are more commonly used now, i.e. The internet.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012 - S. 6594 - Referred to Racing & Wagering Committee

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January first after the act shall have become law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2427 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 17, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. KLEIN, CARLUCCI, MAZIARZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering AN ACT to amend the general municipal law, in relation to the conducting of bingo by certain organizations THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivisions 7, 9, 10 and 11-a of section 476 of the gener- al municipal law, subdivision 7 as amended by chapter 438 of the laws of 1962, subdivision 9 as amended by chapter 1057 of the laws of 1965, paragraph (a) of subdivision 9 as amended by section 16 of part LL of chapter 56 of the laws of 2010, subdivision 10 as amended by chapter 364 of the laws of 1968 and subdivision 11-a as added by chapter 160 of the laws of 1994, are amended and two new subdivisions 4-a and 13 are added to read as follows: 4-A. "AUXILIARY MEMBER" SHALL MEAN A BONA FIDE MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZA- TION OR ASSOCIATION WHICH IS AUXILIARY TO AN AUTHORIZED ORGANIZATION LICENSED PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE; OR A BONA FIDE MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZA- TION OR ASSOCIATION OF WHICH AN AUTHORIZED ORGANIZATION LICENSED PURSU- ANT TO THIS ARTICLE IS AN AUXILIARY; OR A BONA FIDE MEMBER OF AN ORGAN- IZATION OR ASSOCIATION WHICH IS AFFILIATED WITH AN AUTHORIZED ORGANIZATION LICENSED PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE BY BEING, WITH IT, AUXIL- IARY TO ANOTHER ORGANIZATION OR ASSOCIATION. 7. "Net proceeds" shall mean (a) in relation to the gross receipts from one or more occasions of bingo, the amount that shall remain after deducting the reasonable sums necessarily and actually expended for CONDUCTING BINGO GAMES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, bingo supplies and equipment, prizes, stated rental if any, bookkeeping or accounting services according to a schedule of compensation prescribed by the commission, janitorial services and utility supplies if any, license fees, and [the cost of bus transportation] REIMBURSEMENT OF REASONABLE
EXPENSES INCURRED BY VOLUNTEERS WHO DONATE THEIR TIME TO HOLD, OPERATE OR CONDUCT, OR ASSIST IN THE CONDUCT OF SUCH GAMES, [if] AS authorized by the control commission, and (b) in relation to the gross rent received by an organization licensed to conduct bingo for the use of its premises by another licensee, the amount that shall remain after deduct- ing the reasonable sums necessarily and actually expended for janitorial services and utility supplies directly attributable thereto if any. 9. "Authorized commercial lessor" shall mean a person, firm or corpo- ration other than a licensee to conduct bingo under the provisions of this article, who or which shall own or be a net lessee of premises and offer the same for leasing by him, HER or it to an authorized organiza- tion for any consideration whatsoever, direct or indirect, for the purpose of conducting bingo therein, provided that he, SHE or it, as the case may be, shall not be (a) a person convicted of a crime who has not received a pardon or a certificate of good conduct or a certificate of relief from disabilities pursuant to article twenty-three of the correction law; (b) a person who is or has been a professional gambler or gambling promoter or who for other reasons is not of good moral character; (c) a public officer who receives any consideration, direct or indi- rect, as owner or lessor of premises offered for the purpose of conduct- ing bingo therein; (d) a firm or corporation in which a person defined in [subdivision] PARAGRAPH (a), (b) or (c) [above] OF THIS SUBDIVISION or a person married [or related in the first degree] to such a person has greater than a ten [percentum] PER CENTUM (10%) proprietary, equitable or credit interest or in which such a person is active or employed[.]; OR (E) A FIRM OR CORPORATION IN WHICH A PERSON RELATED TO A PERSON, DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH (A), (B) OR (C) OF THIS SUBDIVISION, HAS GREATER THAN TWENTY PER CENTUM (20%) PROPRIETARY, EQUITABLE OR CREDIT INTEREST OR IN WHICH SUCH A RELATED PERSON IS ACTIVE OR EMPLOYED. Nothing contained in this subdivision shall be construed to bar any firm or corporation which is not organized for pecuniary profit and no part of the net earnings of which inure to the benefit of any individ- ual, member, or shareholder, from being an authorized commercial lessor solely because a public officer, or a person married or related in the first degree to a public officer, is a member of, active in or employed by such firm or corporation. 10. "Limited period bingo" shall mean the conduct of bingo by a licensed authorized organization, for a period of not more than [seven] TEN of [twelve] FOURTEEN consecutive days in any one year, at a festival, bazaar, carnival or similar function conducted by such licensed authorized organization. No authorized organization licensed to conduct limited period bingo shall be otherwise eligible to conduct bingo pursuant to this article in the same year. 11-a. "Early bird" shall mean a bingo game which is played as a special game, conducted not more than [twice] THREE TIMES during a bingo occasion, in which prizes are awarded based upon a percentage not to exceed seventy-five percent of the sum of money received from the sale of the early bird cards and which is neither subject to the prize limits imposed by subdivisions five and six of section four hundred seventy- nine and paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section four hundred eight- y-one, nor the special game opportunity charge limit imposed by section four hundred eighty-nine of this article. The percentage shall be speci- fied both in the application for bingo license and the license. Not more than one dollar shall be charged per card with the total amount
collected from the sale of the early bird cards and the prize for each game to be announced before the commencement of each game. 13. "REASONABLE EXPENSES INCURRED BY A VOLUNTEER" SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, CHILD CARE EXPENSES, TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, MEALS AND OTHER EXPENSES, AS DETERMINED AND REGULATED BY THE BOARD. S 2. Subdivisions 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of section 479 of the general municipal law, subdivision 3 as amended by chapter 337 of the laws of 1998, subdivisions 5 and 6 as amended by chapter 328 of the laws of 1994, and subdivisions 7 and 8 as amended by chapter 814 of the laws of 1964, are amended to read as follows: 3. No authorized organization licensed under the provisions of this article shall purchase, lease, or receive any supplies or equipment specifically designed or adapted for use in the conduct of bingo games from other than a supplier licensed under [the bingo control law] ARTI- CLE NINETEEN-B OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW or from another authorized organiza- tion. 5. No prize shall exceed the sum or value of one thousand FIVE HUNDRED dollars in any single game of bingo. 6. No series of prizes on any one bingo occasion shall aggregate more than [three] FOUR thousand dollars. 7. No person except a bona fide member OR AUXILIARY MEMBER of any such organization shall participate in the management or operation of such game. 8. No person shall receive any remuneration for participating in the management or operation of any game of bingo; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT A PERSON MAY ACCEPT REIMBURSEMENT OF REASONABLE EXPENSES INCURRED TO MANAGE, HOLD, OPERATE OR CONDUCT SUCH GAMES. S 3. Subparagraph 6 of paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 480 of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 611 of the laws of 1963, is amended to read as follows: (6) the specific purposes to which the entire net proceeds of such games are to be devoted and in what manner; that no commission, salary, compensation[,] OR reward [or recompense] will be paid to any person for conducting such bingo game or games or for assisting therein except as in this article otherwise provided; and such other information as shall be prescribed by such rules and regulations. S 4. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 and subdivision 3 of section 481 of the general municipal law, paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 as amended by section 17 of part LL of chapter 56 of the laws of 2010 and subdivi- sion 3 as amended by chapter 284 of the laws of 1969, are amended to read as follows: (a) Issuance of licenses to conduct bingo. If the governing body of the municipality shall determine that the applicant is duly qualified to be licensed to conduct bingo under this article; that the member or members of the applicant designated in the application to conduct bingo are bona fide active members of the applicant and are persons of good moral character and have never been convicted of a crime or, if convicted, have received a pardon or a certificate of good conduct or a certificate of relief from disabilities pursuant to article twenty-three of the correction law, OR, IF CONVICTED, THE MEMBER OR MEMBERS ARE PARTICIPATING IN A REHABILITATION PROGRAM LICENSED OR CERTIFIED BY A STATE AGENCY AND OPERATED BY THE APPLICANT OR AN AUXILIARY THEREOF; that such games are to be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this article and in accordance with the rules and regulations of the commis- sion, and that the proceeds thereof are to be disposed of as provided by this article, and if the governing body is satisfied that no commission,
salary, compensation[,] OR reward [or recompense] whatever will be paid or given to any person holding, operating or conducting or assisting in the holding, operation and conduct of any such games except as [in this article] otherwise provided IN THIS ARTICLE, INCLUDING REIMBURSEMENT OF REASONABLE EXPENSES INCURRED BY VOLUNTEERS WHO DONATE THEIR TIME TO HOLD, OPERATE OR CONDUCT, OR ASSIST IN THE CONDUCT OF SUCH GAMES; and that no prize will be offered and given in excess of the sum or value of one thousand FIVE HUNDRED dollars in any single game and that the aggre- gate of all prizes offered and given in all of such games conducted on a single occasion, under said license shall not exceed the sum or value of [three] FOUR thousand dollars, it shall issue a license to the applicant for the conduct of bingo upon payment of a license fee of eighteen dollars [and seventy-five cents] for each bingo occasion; provided, however, that the governing body shall refuse to issue a license to an applicant seeking to conduct bingo in premises of a licensed commercial lessor where it determines that the premises presently owned or occupied by said applicant are in every respect adequate and suitable for conducting bingo games. 3. No license shall be issued under this article which shall be effec- tive for a period of more than one year. In the case of limited period bingo, no license shall be issued authorizing the conduct of such games on more than [two] THREE occasions in any one day nor shall any license be issued under this article which shall be effective for a period of more than [seven] TEN of [twelve] FOURTEEN consecutive days in any one year. No license for the conduct of limited period bingo shall be issued in cities having a population of one million or more. S 5. Subdivision 1 of section 483 of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 438 of the laws of 1962, is amended to read as follows: 1. [Eeach] EACH license to conduct bingo shall be in such form as shall be prescribed in the rules and regulations promulgated by the control commission, and shall contain a statement of the name and address of the licensee, of the names and addresses of the member or members of the licensee under whom the games will be conducted, of the place or places where and the date or dates and time or times when such games are to be conducted and of the specific purposes to which the entire net proceeds of such games are to be devoted; if any prize or prizes are to be offered and given in cash, a statement of the amounts of the prizes authorized so to be offered and given; and any other information which may be required by said rules and regulations to be contained therein, and each license issued for the conduct of any game shall be conspicuously displayed at the place where same is to be conducted at all times during the conduct thereof. S 6. Section 485 of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 438 of the laws of 1962, is amended to read as follows: S 485. Sunday; conduct of games on. [No games] GAMES of bingo [shall] MAY be conducted under any license issued under this article on the first day of the week, commonly known as [designated as] Sunday, unless it shall be otherwise provided in the license issued for the holding, operating and conducting thereof, pursuant to the provisions of a local law or an ordinance duly adopted by the governing body of the munici- pality issuing the license, [authorizing] PROHIBITING the conduct of bingo under this article on that day. S 7. Section 486 of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 438 of the laws of 1962, is amended to read as follows:
S 486. Participation by persons under eighteen. No person under the age of eighteen years shall be permitted to play any game or games of bingo conducted pursuant to any license issued under this article unless accompanied by an adult. No person under the age of eighteen years shall be permitted to conduct or assist in the conduct of any game of bingo conducted pursuant to any license issued under this article; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT A PERSON UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN YEARS AND WHO IS FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER SHALL BE PERMITTED TO ASSIST IN THE CONDUCT OF ANY GAME OF BINGO IF ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT. S 8. Section 487 of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 72 of the laws of 1982, is amended to read as follows: S 487. Frequency of game; sale of alcoholic beverages. No game or games of bingo, except limited period bingo, shall be conducted under any license issued under this article more often than on [eighteen] TWENTY-SEVEN days in any three successive calendar months. No game or games of limited period bingo shall be conducted between the hours of twelve midnight postmeridian and noon, and no more than sixty games may be conducted on any single occasion of limited period bingo. No game or games of bingo shall be conducted in any room or outdoor area where alcoholic beverages are sold, served or consumed during the progress of the game or games. S 9. Subdivision 1 of section 488 of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 337 of the laws of 1998, is amended to read as follows: 1. No person shall hold, operate or conduct any game of bingo under any license issued under this article except a bona fide member OR AUXILIARY MEMBER of the authorized organization to which the license is issued[, and]. FURTHERMORE, no person shall assist in the holding, oper- ating or conducting of any game of bingo under such license except such a bona fide member or [a bona fide] AUXILIARY member [of an organization or association which is an auxiliary to the licensee or a bona fide member of an organization or association of which such licensee is an auxiliary or a bona fide member of an organization or association which is affiliated with the licensee by being, with it, auxiliary to another organization or association and except bookkeepers or accountants as hereinafter provided]. Provided, however, any person may assist the licensed organization in any activity related to the game of bingo which does not actually involve the holding, conducting, managing or operating of such game of bingo. No game of bingo shall be conducted with any equipment except such as shall be owned absolutely or leased by the authorized organization so licensed or used without payment of any compensation therefor by the licensee. Lease terms and conditions shall be subject to rules and regulations promulgated by the board. This arti- cle shall not be construed to authorize or permit an authorized organ- ization to engage in the business of leasing bingo supplies or equip- ment. No items of expense shall be incurred or paid in connection with the conducting of any game of bingo pursuant to any license issued under this article, except those that are reasonable and are necessarily expended for bingo supplies and equipment, prizes, stated rental if any, bookkeeping or accounting services according to a schedule of compen- sation prescribed by the commission, janitorial services and utility supplies if any, and license fees, REIMBURSEMENT OF REASONABLE EXPENSES INCURRED BY VOLUNTEERS WHO DONATE THEIR TIME TO HOLD, OPERATE OR CONDUCT OR ASSIST IN THE CONDUCT OF SUCH GAMES, and the cost of bus transporta- tion, if authorized by the control commission.
S 10. Section 490 of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 99 of the laws of 1988, is amended to read as follows: S 490. Advertising of bingo games. A licensee may advertise the conduct of an occasion of bingo to the general public by means of news- paper, radio, circular, handbill [and], poster, ELECTRONIC MAIL, ELEC- TRONIC COMMUNICATIONS AND GOVERNMENT ACCESS TELEVISION BROADCASTS, and by one sign not exceeding sixty square feet in area, which may be displayed on or adjacent to the premises owned or occupied by a licensed authorized organization, and when an organization is licensed to conduct bingo occasions on the premises of another licensed authorized organiza- tion or of a licensed commercial lessor, one additional such sign may be displayed on or adjacent to the premises in which the occasions are to be conducted. Additional signs may be displayed upon any firefighting equipment belonging to any licensed authorized organization which is a volunteer fire company, or upon any equipment of a first aid or rescue squad, OR VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE COMPANY in and throughout the community served by such volunteer fire company or such first aid or rescue squad, OR VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE COMPANY, as the case may be. All advertisements shall be limited to the description of such event as "bingo", the name of the licensed authorized organization conducting such occasions, the license number of the authorized organization as assigned by the clerk and the date, location and time of the bingo occasion. S 11. Subdivision 1 of section 491 of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 667 of the laws of 1980, is amended to read as follows: 1. Within [seven] TEN days after the conclusion of any occasion of bingo, the authorized organization which conducted the same, and its members who were in charge thereof, and when applicable the authorized organization which rented its premises therefor, shall each furnish to the clerk of the municipality a statement subscribed by the member in charge and affirmed by him OR HER as true, under the penalties of perju- ry, showing the amount of the gross receipts derived therefrom and each item of expense incurred, or paid, and each item of expenditure made or to be made, the name and address of each person to whom each such item has been paid, or is to be paid, with a detailed description of the merchandise purchased or the services rendered therefor, the net proceeds derived from such game or rental, as the case may be, and the use to which such proceeds have been or are to be applied and a list of prizes offered and given, with the respective values thereof, and it shall be the duty of each licensee to maintain and keep such books and records as may be necessary to substantiate the particulars of each such statement and within fifteen days after the end of each calendar quarter during which there has been any occasion of bingo, a summary statement of such information, in form prescribed by the state, shall be furnished in the same manner to the [state racing and wagering board] COMMISSION. S 12. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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