Committee OK’s Small Games Bill for Fire Departments, Veterans Organizations

HARRISBURG – Chaired by Senator John Yudichak (I-14), the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee took action on a bill today to allow volunteer fire departments, veterans groups and other non-profit agencies to conduct online fundraisers.

As part of Senate Bill 243 – introduced by Senator Joe Pittman (R-41) – licensed eligible organizations would be able to conduct online small games of chance fundraisers, to help offset losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of Wednesday’s unanimous vote, the bill advances to the full Senate for consideration.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has cost lives, closed businesses, disrupted our children’s education, and hurt many of the non-profit organizations that are always there for us and our communities in our time of need,” said Yudichak.

“Fire departments, veterans organizations and civic clubs embody the strength and spirit of our Pennsylvania communities,” continued Yudichak. “The people who serve in these organizations are often volunteers who spend as many hours fundraising as they do fighting fires or serving their cause. I applaud Senator Pittman for introducing this measure, that will create an innovative way for our fire department and service organizations to continue raising funds.”

The legislation permits fire departments, clubs and eligible organizations to conduct online raffles and 50/50 drawings. Also, payments would be permitted via mobile payment applications.

“Due to restrictions implemented by the Governor’s continuing disaster declarations, these organizations have been unable to conduct many of the fundraisers they need to operate,” said Senator Pittman.  “Ensuring that these organizations have the financial resources to continue to provide critical services to our communities is vital.” 

Licensees would be required to verify age and residency of those participating in the Small Games of Chance and the ability to fundraise online would end on May 1, 2022 or upon the termination of the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, whichever is later.

View the committee discussion here.

 

CONTACT: spitzer@pasen.gov