Governor Vetoes Interactive Lottery Game Language!!

July 1, 2015

United Charities of Ohio, last night was a good night for us.

Last evening Governor Kasich signed House Bill 64, the biannual state budget, and also made public his veto list. I am so pleased to report that he vetoed the interactive terminal lottery language!

Thank you-this would not and could not have happened without your willingness to step up and make sure the voices of the charities were heard. To each of you who called your legislator, wrote a letter, submitted testimony, or made an effort to make sure people knew what was happening, you had a direct influence on the outcome.

However, we are not done. When the legislature resumes full-time work in September, we believe this language will reappear. United Charities of Ohio will need to be stronger than ever at that time. We’ve shown the power than can come from having a united voice in front of the state legislature and administration-working together works!

If you are already a member, tell organizations in your area about the usefulness of having a united voice and encourage them to join. If you aren’t a member-what are you waiting for? Be a part of keeping bingo alive and well in Ohio!

Take a deep breath, and pat yourselves on the back-you made a HUGE difference! Let’s keep it up!

Today is a good day for bingo in Ohio!

We have one week left to make a difference!

The Ohio Senate included in their version of the state budget a provision that would require the state Lottery to place electronic interactive terminals in bars and restaurants. These terminals would include the game EZPlay Bingo. This provision received no discussion or testimony before it appeared in the budget-and it was not part of the Ohio House version of the budget.

If this becomes law it will be a threat to charitable bingo in Ohio. Ohio has always benefitted when major changes of this type receive discussion at the state level-and that’s what we now seek.  An open and transparent process outside of the rush of the state budget is better for all of Ohio-and fair for everyone affected.

The Ohio House and Senate will start work on Friday June 19 via a Conference Committee to finalize the state budget, so we need you to call your Senator and Representative today and ask them to remove the Lottery language regarding interactive terminals from HB 64 (the state budget).

You can find your Representative by entering your 9 digit zip code or searching by county on this page: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/district-map

You can find your Senator by entering your 9 digit zip code or searching by county on this page:

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senate/members/senate-district-map

It is critical that members of the Conference Committee also hear from you. Their contact information is:

Senator Scott Oelslager: 614-466-0626,sd29@ohiosenate.gov.

Senator Bill Coley: 614-466-8072, sd04@ohiosenate.gov

Senator Michael Skindell: 614-466-5123, sd23@ohiosenate.gov

Representative Ryan Smith: 614-466-1366, Rep93@ohiohouse.gov

Representative Kirk Schuring: 614-752-2438, Rep48@ohiohouse.gov

Representative Denise Driehaus: 614-466-5786, Rep31@ohiohouse.gov

This provision, should it stay in the budget, will hurt bingo for years to come. Your action on this is critical to preserving bingo.

Please act now.

ACT NOW TO PROTECT OHIO BINGO

On June 9 the Ohio Senate introduced their version of the state budget, and included a provision that would require the state Lottery to place electronic interactive terminals in bars and restaurants. These terminals would include the game EZPlay Bingo. This provision received no discussion or testimony before it appeared in the budget.

If this becomes law it will be a threat to charitable bingo in Ohio. Ohio has always benefitted when major changes of this type receive discussion at the state level-and that’s all we seek now.  An open and transparent process outside of the rush of the state budget is better for all of Ohio-and fair for everyone affected.

The Senate will finalize their budget on June 16, so we need you to call your Senator today and ask them to remove the Lottery language regarding interactive terminals.

You can find your Senator by entering your zip code or searching by county on this page http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senate/members/senate-district-map

Your voice is important-Senate offices pay attention to calls from constituents-so make sure they know how you feel.

Make the Senate Finance Committee Chairperson and Vice Chair aware this provision should be removed. Contact Chairman Oelslager at 614-466-0626 or sd29@ohiosenate.gov. Contact Vice Chairman Bill Coley at 614-466-8072 or sd4@ohiosenate.gov

This provision, should it stay in the budget, will hurt bingo for years to come. Your action on this is critical to preserving bingo. Please act now.

Charities Discuss Impact and Future of Charitable Bingo

 March 20, 2015                                                      Contact: Nikki Reiss 614-581-0306

Today in Columbus several representative charities took part in a press conference to announce the formation of a new coalition, United Charities of Ohio. This new group aims to protect and preserve charitable bingo in Ohio. Bingo was first authorized by the voters 40 years ago, making it the first legal form of gaming in the state. However, recent changes to the Ohio gaming landscape have resulted in decreasing bingo revenues. United Charities of Ohio is intended to provide a cohesive voice for the charities when addressing gaming issues in Ohio and already has members from across the state.

Hundreds of charities across Ohio use bingo to raise funds for their projects. They include those traditionally thought of as bingo recipients such as churches, schools and veteran and fraternal groups, but others involved in a variety of efforts also use bingo as a fundraiser. Jenny Rukenbrod Pike of the Humane Society of Columbiana County said, “Bingo pays for the food and needs of many of our rescues. Without these funds we wouldn’t be able to care for nearly as many animals as we currently support. We see our mission as critical for society, and bingo supports that mission.” Athletic foundations, volunteer firefighters, community support services and many others rely on bingo to fill their needs. Bobby Kortsen runs the Youth Sports Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth who are interested in athletics by giving them opportunities to play and travel. “The children we serve would likely have no other way to participate in activities that so many of us consider part of a normal childhood. By using bingo to raise funds for the program, we are giving them opportunities that would not otherwise exist.”

Most individuals who are responsible for bingo games have full time jobs, families and other responsibilities, but make the time to operate a bingo game because their mission is important enough to do so. Selena Crace, President of the Huber Heights Athletic Foundation, was unable to join the press conference due to job duties, but submitted, “Bingo proceeds allows the Athletic Foundation to support the youth of our community who are involved in recreational athletic programs, junior high and high school programs as well as students at all levels of their academic careers in ways that otherwise would not be possible. “

With so many recent additions to the gaming atmosphere in Ohio in casinos, racinos and electronic lottery terminals, not to mention the proliferation of sweepstakes cafes, or internet cafes, a few years ago, bingo is facing more competition than ever before and is well overdue for an update. “We aren’t afraid of fair competition,” said Jason Bogavitch of Children’s Toy Fund, an organization that provides terminally ill children with toys and games “but it must indeed be fair. Everyone knows the story of how gambling has changed in Ohio. But nobody sees that the only thing that hasn’t changed is charitable gaming. The time has come to make changes that will allow bingo to remain competitive and organizations such as mine to continue our work in our communities. We look forward to working with the legislature and other allies to modernize bingo and allow charities to keep doing their good work.”

What if We Don’t Stand Up for Ourselves?

  • The loudest voices (casinos and the Lottery) will protect themselves and muscle you out.
  • We must protect the local fundraising opportunity provided by bingo.
  • This is a critical time-if charities don’t speak as one, they will get run over by larger groups with deep pockets.
  • Communities will suffer when bingo fundraising disappears.
  • Charities need a voice at the table!

What’s in it for Your Charity?

  • If you aren’t the voice for charitable gaming and the Ohioans it supports, who will be?
  • Opportunity to be tuned into issues in Columbus that impact charitable gaming
  • Opportunity to shape the agenda and help it become reality
  • Opportunity to highlight the tremendous things you do in your communities

What We Need You to Do!

  • Need your charity to join – fill out and sign the form
  • There is zero cost to join or to be a member
  • In the months to come, need you to read what we send you and be willing to reach out to elected officials – like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
  • May need you to send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper

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