House Bill 282: To Permit Electronic Instant Bingo

House Bill 282 appears to have come to a stand-still after several hearings in the House Finance Committee with no opposition testimony. The Ohio Supreme Court granted a stay until June 30th, 2020 so that the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable organization can seek a legislative solution before hearing the case. Several sources state that House leadership does not wish to move HB 282 ahead of the controversial sports gaming legislation. The House and the Senate chambers are at odds with what governmental agency is best suited for oversight and how sports gaming should be operated, taxed, and regulated in Ohio. Both versions of the sports gaming legislation allow professional, collegiate, Olympic, international sports and motor races wagering. House Bill 194 would place oversight with the Ohio Lottery and permits veterans groups to offer sports gaming to their post members. Senate Bill 111 grants authority to the Ohio Casino Control Commission and does not currently permit veterans groups to offer sports gaming to their post members. House Bill 282 will permit the American Legion post to operate electronic instant bingo for charitable purposes. Current law permits the American Legion post paper forms of instant bingo for charitable purposes. House Bill 282 does not expand gaming - unlike sports gaming - and is strictly for non-profit charitable purposes. The American Legion Department of Ohio and the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC) does not necessarily want to be excluded from the sports gaming conversation, we most certainly view House Bill 282 as a separate and independent piece of legislation. Why does House Bill 282 Matter to The American Legion Department of Ohio? American Legion Irvin Hiskey Post 535 located in Bellville, Ohio has invested over $19,000 in the last 19 months to local charities. Post 535 donated $4,800 to Clear Fork School District as a mini-grant for teachers to access for classroom supplies; Purchased American Flags and flag poles for every classroom at Bellville and Butler Elementary Schools, supported local Scouting units to help purchase uniforms and supported music and athletic boosters. This is the impact Post 535 had in their community after contributing 25% of their net profit to The American Legion Department of Ohio Charities Inc. and Ohio Advocates for Kids. Through charitable gaming, The American Legion Post 535 can invest in their local community. The House Finance Committee has not held a committee meeting since the House reconvened from the holiday break. However, when the House Finance Committee will meet in the coming weeks, we need the committee to report House Bill 282 out of committee for a House vote. Please contact the Office of The Ohio Speaker of House to ask for a vote. You may call Speaker Householder at 614-466-2500 and email at rep72@ohiohouse.gov. Below is a brief script for your message: “On behalf of the American Legion post, I want to thank Speaker Householder for his support for House Bill 282. This bill would allow veterans and fraternal organizations to modernize their charitable gaming capabilities by using electronic forms of pull tabs otherwise known as instant bingo. House Bill 282 has already had four hearings in the House and we need the House to vote to pass this bill and send it to the Senate. The Senate needs time to have hearings and pass the bill before June 30th. If we cannot get this legislation passed by June 30th we have to go back to the Supreme Court, which we do not want to do. Going back to court puts the electronic charitable gaming program at risk, and many of our posts and lodges cannot afford to lose electronic gaming. This would also have a huge impact on the local charities we support in our communities. We respectfully ask Speaker Householder and other members of House leadership to immediately call a vote on House Bill 282.”


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