Charitable gambling in Minnesota tops $1.5 billion in 2016

January 05, 2017

Minnesotans apparently were feeling lucky in fiscal year 2016, spending $1.5 billion on pulltabs, bingo, raffles and other forms of charitable gambling — or more than $275 for every person in the state.  Read More.

State misses mark by going after bingo at VFW

Thursday July 21, 2016 9:28 AM

An M47 Patton tank stands guard outside the scene of the alleged crimes, as do memorials to fallen and missing veterans.

This is VFW Post 9473 on Waggoner Road in Reynoldsburg. For six months, it has been under criminal investigation.

For bingo violations. Read more.

Meet Morgan Smith – UCO Communications Manager

Welcome Morgan Smith to United Charities of Ohio! Morgan joined UCO January 27, 2016, and will be working on your behalf to increase members and to communicate regularly with membership on matters important to you and Ohio Charitable Gaming.

Morgan holds a Master’s Degree in Communication from Marshall University. Morgan grew up in Ohio and graduated from Ohio University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Communication, prior to moving to Huntington and pursuing her Master’s degree…

Read More.

Man Pleads Guilty to Operating Illegal Casino

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Stephen Cline, owner of Spinners in Pickaway County, recently plead guilty to one felony count each of money laundering and operating an illegal casino. The Commission launched an investigation into Spinners after receiving a complaint the business was paying out cash in violation of Ohio law. Gaming Agents – in partnership with the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the Pickaway County Prosecutor’s Office – seized $94,000 in cash along with 140 illegal gaming machines from Spinners in April 2015 as part of the investigation.

Read more here.

Video raffles still operate in Ohio as suit over legality pends

The Columbus Dispatch  •  Wednesday December 9, 2015 6:20 AM

Two years ago this month, a Franklin County judge temporarily blocked Attorney General Mike DeWine from shutting down video raffle machines operated statewide by a coalition of veterans and fraternal groups.

Read More.


Authorities raid three local arcades for alleged illegal payouts


 JEFFERSONVILLE, Ohio (WCMH)–Three local gaming arcades were raided by agents of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, who claim the businesses are making illegal casino cash pay outs.

Read More.


Gaming Committee Holds First Meeting Of The Year, Eyes December Deadline For Report

The Permanent Joint Committee on Gaming and Waging on Thursday heard testimony from gaming regulators as the committee plans to meet a December deadline for its comprehensive report on the industry.

Representatives from the Ohio Lottery Commission, the Casino Control Commission, the Ohio Racing Commission and the Attorney General’s Office appeared before the committee, briefing members of each law enforcement agency’s work policing the industry.

Afterward, Sen. Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) made his own presentation, setting the stage for the committee’s efforts over the coming months with the goal of examining whether Ohio’s gaming regulation infrastructure is adequate.

A key question for the committee is whether Ohio should continue to not tax promotional spending by casinos. A 2010 implementing law permits casinos to deduct promotional spending from their adjusted gross revenue, thereby avoiding taxes on that spending.

“We’re one of the few (states) that has an unfettered deduction for that,” Sen. Coley said in an interview. “Should we comment on it? Should we continue to study it? Should we suggest changing it? We’ll have those conversations.”

When that decision was made, Sen. Coley said, lawmakers thought the decision wouldn’t have a large impact on tax revenue.

But at the close of the committee’s meeting, he presented his own data to show that the impact might be larger than once thought.

“We’ve effectively cheated schools and governments out of $165 million so far in the state of Ohio,” he told fellow committee members. “Maybe that’s something we decide that might not be the best thing for the state.”

Sen. Coley earlier this year introduced a bill (SB 140) to limit casinos’ ability to issue promotional gaming credits. The proposal, currently before the Senate Finance Committee, would dictate casinos falling short on promised tax revenue would be ineligible to issue credits.

Casinos have rallied against that idea, saying limiting those credits would impair Ohio casinos’ competitiveness with casinos in other states. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, March 31, 2015)

Sen. Coley also questioned whether casinos were built smaller than lawmakers were led to believe, which in turn impacted expected revenue.

Ohio casino operators will be invited to upcoming committee hearings, he said, to answer those questions.

“If my regression analysis is somehow inaccurate, if my facts are somehow inaccurate, I’ll be happy to be corrected,” Sen. Coley said.

The four agencies that appeared before the committee briefed the members on the scope of their authority in the gaming industry. Sen. Coley said the committee will examine whether those agencies have the tools they need to be effective.

“All of the agencies, should we collapse one or more of those regulatory bodies, enforcement bodies into another one?” Sen. Coley asked.

One positive step already taken, according to Casino Control Commission Matthew Schuler, was the passage of a bill (SB141, 130th General Assembly) which made structuring transactions at a casino a fifth-degree felony.

Mr. Schuler also briefed members on criminal statistics related to casinos, saying there have been 453 charges of criminal behavior at Ohio’s four casinos in FY 2015 – including 40 cases of trespassing, 18 cases of attempted underage entry, 15 cases of theft, 14 cases of attempted cheating and 12 cases of false identification.


State lawmaker gives Queen of Hearts free reign

Published: Fri, September 18, 2015 @ 12:10 a.m.

A state senator who heads a panel reviewing Ohio’s gaming regulations said Thursday he will seek no special investigations or law changes in response to a popular jackpot pool at a Mahoning County bar.

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Bar’s huge jackpot for ‘Queen of Hearts’ game draws scrutiny of Ohio gambling regulators

The Columbus Dispatch  •  Friday September 18, 2015 7:32 AM

A pool drawing at a Youngstown-area bar has grown so big that it’s caught the attention of state lawmakers who want to know if state regulators need to get involved, or if it’s even legal.

Read More


Casino Control, police raid businesses suspected of illegal gambling

The Columbus Dispatch  •  Wednesday August 5, 2015 6:34 PM

Law enforcement seized gaming machines, cash and documents during a raid on Wednesday of four businesses and two residences suspected of dishing out cash prizes violating Ohio law, according a news release from the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Read More.

Future legislation to be pursued for creation of new lottery games that the governor vetoed


A provision for new Ohio Lottery games was among 44 items Republican Gov. John Kasich vetoed last week – a move that Ohio’s two largest racino/casino operators applaud.

It had called for self-service terminal-generated instant win-style lottery games for EZPlay Keno and EZPlay bingo at bars and restaurants with certain liquor permits. Read More.

Ohio Lottery sales keep growing, hitting record year again

Ohioans have an itch for scratch-offs.

The Ohio Lottery Commission sold $1.55 billion in instant scratch-off lottery tickets in the fiscal year ending June 30, which was $123.3 million, or 8.6 percent, more than the previous year, according to annual, unaudited sales figures released on Thursday. Read More.

 Charitable-bingo income continues decline

The Columbus Dispatch  •  Saturday July 4, 2015 5:48 AM

Bingo games for charity are expanding in Ohio, but the income from them is shrinking.  Read More.

Ohio inspector general urges Lottery Commission to tighten controls in light of instant-ticket theft

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An investigation of the tracking system for scratch-off, instant-winner lottery tickets prompted the Ohio inspector general to issue a series of recommendations aimed at tightening controls over the ticket inventory.  Read More.

 Industry calls Ohio lawmaker’s bill to tax gaming credits a loser


An Ohio senator is seeking a tax on promotional gaming credits at the Buckeye State’s 11 casinos and racinos. Read More

 Ohio’s racinos pulling even with casinos

Ohio’s four casinos and seven harness-racing facilities were nearly even in the perpetual race for the state’s gambling crown in March, but momentum is shifting to the racinos. Read More

 Senator: Ohio casinos not delivering, should have promotional credits taken away

Arguing that Ohio’s casinos and racinos have not lived up to their original promises on tax revenue, state Sen. Bill Coley said it’s time to take away the nontaxable freebies they give out to draw players inside. Read More

 Will Ohio tax comped betting?

COLUMBUS — State Sen. Bill Coley is proposing to tax comped betting by Ohio’s casinos and racinos – a move strongly opposed by industry leaders.  Read More.

 Gaming Options Cause Problems For Some Charitable Groups

Ohioans have more gaming options now that the state has casinos and video lottery terminals at race tracks. But the charitable groups that rely on bingo to support their missions say expanded gambling is making it more difficult to raise funds these days. Read More

 Ohio charities form coalition as bingo faces competition

COLUMBUS: A new group is pushing for an update to Ohio’s charitable bingo laws following the rise of casinos and other gaming options in the state. Read More

 Group pushes for changes to Ohio laws governing charitable bingo fundraisers

Columbus — A new group has formed to advocate for nonprofits that use charitable bingo to raise funds. Read More

Charities ask for legislative help as bingo goes bust

Facing sharply declining bingo revenue, members of a new statewide coalition of charities say they are danger of going under unless lawmakers make changes to state law. Read More

 Wisconsin video slot distributor admits to gambling charges in Cuyahoga County

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Wisconsin distributor who sold illegal video slot machines to businesses across Ohio pleaded guilty Thursday to gambling-related charges and agreed to turn over $35,000 in forfeited funds. Read More

 Fraternal, veterans groups in Ohio still cashing in with video raffles

More than a year after state officials temporarily pulled the plug on video raffle machines at veterans posts and fraternal lodges, the wheels are still spinning, and money is flowing.  Read More

Recent Enforcement Actions

The Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section provides oversight to make sure donations are not misappropriated and that charitable proceeds are used for charitable purposes.  Read More

Ohio Charities Make Major Contributions to the Economy

Earlier this year, the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations released an economic impact study that indicated the charitable sector is the fourth largest employer in Ohio by industry and contributed $70 billion to the state economy in 2011, which was more than 14 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.  Read More

Mansfield Tygers Bingo Jury Verdict of $6.4 Million Sends Cautionary Message

The $6.4 million jury verdict in the Mansfield Tygers Bingo civil trial sends a cautionary message to those who might be considering taking advantage of Ohio charities: Don’t even think about it. Read more

Casino Bankruptcy Looms for Horseshoe Operator

Caesars Entertainment Corp., operator of the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, is drowning in $25 billion of debt, has closed three casinos this year and admits its largest unit may have to file for bankruptcy.

Las Vegas-based Caesars, which owns or operates 52 casinos worldwide, generated $8.6 billion in revenues in the last 12 months, but it has lost $3.5 billion in that same period. Interest payments alone are more than $2 billion a year… Read More

Ohio’s gambling expansion: From an outright ban to casinos

Ohio’s constitution bans gambling — except lotteries and charitable bingo and casinos and racinos.

Over the past 40 years, economic woes, competition from other states and changing attitudes have pushed Ohio out of its staunchly anti-gambling stance, experts said.

But that doesn’t mean the doors will open to all gambling. The state severely limits skill games and Internet cafes, and the state attorney general recently declared video bingo at veterans’ halls unconstitutional.

The difference between what’s legal and what’s illegal often depends on… Read More

Sweepstakes Operators Plead Guilty to Federal Charges

Federal authorities have broken up a family-run sweepstakes gaming enterprise that prosecutors say serviced more than 600 Internet cafes across the country, raking in proceeds estimated at nearly a quarter-billion dollars.

Bobby G. Mosley Sr. of Townville, S.C., pleaded guilty this week in U.S. District Court to a single count of operating an illegal gambling business… Read More

2 Ohio racino communities due $500K, but who pays?

Ohio officials and a racino developer must sort out how two communities will be paid the $500,000 each was supposed to get because horse racing tracks were moved there.

The Vindicator in Youngstown reported the first of the half-million-dollar annual payments is due by year’s end to the nearby suburb of Austintown Township and the city of Dayton in southwest Ohio.

Two state lawmakers said it’s not clear if those payments should be … Read More

B-I-N-G-O Was His Name O

I’ve lived in Massillon for 11 years and just recently found out that there is an exotic animal rescue farm just minutes away! It’s called Stump Hill Farm and it’s a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about endangered and rare animal species in captivity and… Read More

Horseshoe Casino Cleveland’s November Revenues are 20% Off From 2013

Horseshoe Casino Cleveland’s November revenues, and those of nearly every other casino and racino in the state, did not keep pace with October numbers.

The downtown Cleveland casino also had the steepest year-to-year drop — 20 percent compared to November, 2013 — according to figures released Monday.

The casino grossed $16.1 million in November after paying winners, or 20 percent less than the $20.2 million in revenue in November, 2013. It took in… Read More

Hollywood Casino Columbus Tops in Ohio Gambling Revenue Despite Drop

Hollywood Casino Columbus reported the highest revenue among the state’s casinos and racinos for the second consecutive month in November.

However, the monthly numbers released yesterday weren’t all good news for the Columbus casino, as its sum was down from a year ago. That was also the case for Ohio’s three other casinos and the two racinos — including Scioto Downs — that were open in November 2013.

An important factor in that… Read More

Has racino affected the bingo crowds?

The start of live thoroughbred horse racing is sure to attract plenty of people to the racino in Austintown.

Then there’s the crowd who prefers to play the odds on the video lottery terminals.

The racino has been open for two months and WKBN 27 First News wanted to know if it has had any impact on other forms of gaming like bingo.

“I love bingo. A lot,” Nancy Shanovich of Warren said as she played bingo at St. Rose on a recent Wednesday.

There is a bingo game going on every day in Youngstown. Lots of players daub… Read More

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