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Wyoming Bill Outlines Gaming Commission

3 November 2005

WYOMING – As reported by the Jackson Hold Star Tribune: "A charity could receive millions of dollars from its bingo game and not be required to give even $1 to its stated mission of helping people, according to a draft bill approved Tuesday creating a commission to regulate gambling.

"'It's a loophole in the legislation that we're sending to the committee,' said Sen. Mike Massie, D-Laramie.

"…The committee created the five-member gaming subcommittee to hear public comment and review questions about gambling.

"The subcommittee finished its work Tuesday, and the full committee will consider the draft bill at its Dec. 15-16 meeting in Laramie, Massie said.

"The full committee could accept the subcommittee's draft as it is, revise it or kill it.

"Subcommittee chairman Rep. Pat Childers, R-Cody, said the issue came to the fore because of uneven application of the state's outdated gambling laws.

"…The proposed gaming commission -- its seven members appointed by the governor with Senate approval -- would oversee and license those who operate legal games of chance; assess fees; investigate possible illegal activity; conduct background checks of those seeking licenses; and inspect places where legal games of chance are played.

"…While the draft bill allows e-bingo aids such as electronic daubers for people with disabilities, it continues the ban on e-bingo machines that look and play like slot machines.

"…The draft bill requires charitable or nonprofit organizations to pay out 65 percent of its gross revenues as winnings.

"Of the remaining 35 percent, the charity applies 40 percent -- or 14 percent of the gross revenues -- to the costs of operating the bingo games, pull tabs or casino nights.

"…However, the draft bill gives no guidance about what the charity can or should do with that 21 percent of the gross revenues…"

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