New Jersey votes to allow organizations to keep funds from games of chance like Bingo

In addition to electing a governor, New Jersey voters also had to decide on two public questions on Election Day.

News 12 Staff

Nov 4, 2021, 2:14 AM

Updated 892 days ago

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In addition to electing a governor, New Jersey voters also had to decide on two public questions on Election Day.
Public Question No. 1 was to expand sports betting to college sports. That question was voted down.
Public Question No. 2 would allow groups to raise money from raffles or Bingo games. Voters approved that question.
Before the election, only organizations for veterans and senior citizens could use proceeds from games of chance to support their operations. So what does this mean for the state going forward?
The Elks Lodge in Somerville makes most of its money by renting out its venue. When it has Bingo games, 100% of the proceeds normally go to a charitable organization.
“The Elks take is and will always be about charity. We want to give to all of our charities so we will continue to ask our lodges to vote to give the money to charities,” says Peter Smith, of the New Jersey Elks Association.
In New Jersey, certain groups are allowed to host games of chance. Those groups include veterans, charitable, educational, religious, fraternal, civic, senior citizen groups, volunteer fire companies and first-aid or rescue squads. The proceeds from those games, can only be used for educational, charitable, patriotic, religious, or public-spirited uses. Public Question No. 2 was to amend that law to include all organizations that are permitted to host games of chance. With the Elks specifically, during the pandemic, many of the lodges took financial hits. Tuesday’s vote could be a means for some of the lodges to help support their operations
“Until we hear from our government to tell us what we can and can't do, they would bring it over the floor if they voted if they needed the repairs to use it for capital improvements to their lodges because it's going to be legal, then they can,” says Smith.
Lynn Santos has been running Bingo night through the Somerville Elks Lodge since 2011. Before Tuesday’s tally came in, 100% of the proceeds went to charity. What this now means for Bingo night, is that part of her proceeds will have to go to the lodge.
“It'll affect us by having to share the money, so we won't be able to have as much because we'll now have to give money for repairs or whatever else they need. Before this, the money would just go to charity,” Santos says.
Sixty-four percent of New Jersey voters voted for the amendment. It is unclear if there will be a set percentage that can go toward the organization.


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