Charitable gambling group says thanks

 

 

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On Sunday, members of the Advisory Council on Charitable Gaming gathered to say thank you to state officials and others that have supported them for more than two years. Pictured are members of the coalition with State Representatives Harvey Kenton and Jack Peterman. (The Chronicle/Logan B. Anderson)

MILFORD – Nov. 11, 2012 is a day fraternal orders, veterans’ organizations and clubs that supplemented their income with video lottery (slot) machines won’t forget.

That was the day they received notice from the state of Delaware that any “slot machine” like gambling outside of the three recognized casinos in the First State was illegal.

“This was a challenging time,” said Milford Moose Family Center 2316’s Jim Lofland.

It meant potential closure for some clubs in the state but the greater impact was on the charitable giving that combined exceeds $1 million annually throughout the region.

“We went to the state and said you can’t do this. There is no back fill for what we do,” said Russ Hall, veterans’ organizations representative.

The clubs, which includes the Moose, Elks, Eagles, VFWs, American Legions, and others, support their communities in ways many still aren’t aware of. Beyond scholarships and supporting local events and causes, many organizations help needy families and people with everything from home access and food, to utility bills and wheelchairs.

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From left, Rep. Harvey Kenton, Secretary Tom Cook, Moose Jim Lofland, Delaware Lottery Director Vernon Kirk stand together during Sunday’s event in Milford.

To address the issue the state turned to the Advisory Council on Charitable Gaming (ACCG). The coalition is made up of state officials and representatives of veteran, fraternal and service organizations that employ electric slot machines — called video lottery machines in the First State — to support their operations which include charitable community giving.

After nearly three years of discussions – some of them heated – a compromise was found and charitable gaming has returned to those Delaware organizations. A reporting system was created and much of the money earned is turned over to the state, but at least the revenue stream as returned.

On Sunday at Milford Moose Family Center 2316, members of the coalition invited politicians and others that helped them along the way to say thank you.

Delaware’s Secretary of Finance Tom Cook and Director of the State’s Lottery System Vernon Kirk, along with State Representatives Harvey Kenton and Jack Peterman were on hand to help the group celebrate.

“It opened a lot of eyes to the commitment and effect that you have on your communities,” Sec. Cook said on Sunday at the picnic.

Many of the organizations said they were their own worst enemy because they don’t tell their story as often as they should and many, including some of their own membership, still don’t know what they do to help those in need.

Managing Editor Logan B. Anderson can be reached at landerson@newszap.com. Follow @LoganBAnderson on Twitter.

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