By LANCE MIHM
MINSTER — Local veteran and fraternal clubs are among
those pushing for a new bill governing charitable gaming being
proposed in the Ohio House of Representatives.
The proposed bill would allow veteran and fraternal clubs to
designate more of their money to charities, among other changes.
Speaking to Minster Eagles members Thursday, 77th District State
Representative Keith Faber (R-Celina) vowed to help them fight
to make changes to the current gaming law.
The local club efforts are getting noticed, Faber said, and
urged members to keep pushing for adjustments to the charitable
gaming laws in the state.
“You have been successful in getting this topic to the
next level,” Faber said. “There is no other group
of clubs that has banded together like this grassroots movement.”
The current gaming legislation was signed into law in 2003 in
an attempt to close store front bingo parlors masking as charitable
organizations but run for profit.
Before the 2003 legislation, clubs held gambling events and
donated money to charities of their choice. The new legislation
limited clubs to operating up to 10 hours a day six days a week,
and 50 percent of the money must go to 501(c)(3) designated
charities. Five percent was allowed for expenses and the remaining
45 percent was allowed for the clubs’ own designated use.
Faber said the bill being proposed would allow sales 12 hours
a day seven days a week, allow short-term licenses for charitable
gaming, reduce licensing fees, reduce penalties from a felony
to a misdemeanor and change the definition of expenses to allow
for more items to be paid out of the club’s 5 percent.
“Unfortunately when you pass laws there are always unintended
consequences,” Faber said. “That is what happened
with the legislation on the gaming bill. This has been the largest
issue my office has worked on in the last year. Our ultimate
goal is to allow the clubs to keep 100 percent and we will keep
working on it.”
Wapakoneta resident Mo Fisher organized local clubs and since
then over 50 clubs have joined together. Among them are Knights
of Columbus, Eagles, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Amvets, Grand
Lake Sports Club, American Legion and Elks groups in Auglaize,
Mercer, Allen, Miami, Henry, Van Wert, Darke, Shelby and other
The organization’s constant pressure on state legislators
has forced lawmakers to look again at the new regulations, Faber
Fisher urged all members to call legislators often and urge
them to pass the new legislation without making changes.
“The attorney general’s office is starting to loosen
up,” Fisher said. “I think they are finally starting
to get the message that we need help. We need to get people
voting for the legislators that are going to support us and
we are going to make a list of the ones that are supporting
The gaming legislation has caused financial problems for several
clubs. Locally, the American Legion in Celina was forced to
close for three weeks during the summer of 2003 and the Amvets
in St. Marys has closed its doors.