Our View: Gamble by the rules
The raffle and bingo industry in Colorado topped $220 million in 2003, and it’s a $160 million industry today. It’s also a cash business, and with millions of dollars in cash flowing through clubs and organizations, state regulations serve as the check-and-balance system that ensures that money for nonprofits is being used in the proper fashion.
We have absolutely no doubt that the raffles and gaming events conducted in Craig are done above the board with the best intentions and with the ultimate goal of benefiting much-needed programs and services in our county. Truth be told, most county residents probably don’t care either way whether businesses hold a raffle license and are registered with the Secretary of State, as long as the money they give to charity is used properly. But the squeaky wheel gets the grease — the people opposed to the work of others will always complain the loudest about what is and is not being done properly. The bottom line is that raffles and games are no different from anything else — there are rules and in the end, following the rules is the only way to hold a successful event.
There are multiple nonprofits in Moffat County that file the proper paperwork, pay the raffle license fees, sit through the course, designate a games master and jump through the dozens of other hoops required to obtain the state required license. There are only so many charitable dollars available. People will buy only so many raffle tickets, so the clubs and organizations that do take the time to do it right should reap the benefits of a raffle.
It’s not up to us to judge why or how businesses and organizations are conducting their business. It is up to us to educate the public about the legalities and issues surrounding gaming, including raffles, bingo and gambling. It’s our job to make sure that people understand how and why rules and regulations are in place.
Without guidelines and a governing body, there is no way to put a stop to people who sell raffle tickets to customers who pay money and never know whether they won the prize. We don’t think any of the businesses in our community do this, but it takes only one rotten egg to spoil the carton and we think that, if the rules exist, we all need to play by them.
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