Small games of chance rules delay hailed by volunteer fire departments, social clubs
A law unpopular with volunteer fire departments and independent social clubs has received a one-year reprieve so changes can be made.
On Thursday, state Sens. Richard Kasunic and Tim Solobay received word that the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue delayed the requirements of the Small Games of Chance law for one year.
In a Dec. 12 letter to Gov. Tom Corbett, Kasunic and Solobay urged the administration to postpone an administrative Feb. 1 deadline for organizations to file reports under Act 2 of 2012, a sweeping revision of the state's Small Games of Chance regulations.
“This one-year delay will give the Legislature a chance to fix the problems the law has created,” Kasunic said. “Without the moratorium, many organizations that are part of the fabric of life in Pennsylvania could have been forced to close their doors. That would have been a catastrophe for communities and for taxpayers.”
Understaffed volunteer groups, Solobay said, have had difficulty understanding the law, as well as the further revisions passed late last year.
“This is great news for hundreds of important organizations across Pennsylvania that are struggling with the complexity of the new law,” Solobay said. “I applaud the governor for recognizing the consequences that heavy-handed enforcement could have had.”
The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement provided information on the law to approximately 20 representatives from local fire departments and social clubs last year in the Frazier High School auditorium in Perryopolis.
“It's something that really needed done,” said A.J. Boni, a Perry Township supervisor and Perryopolis Volunteer Fire Department assistant chief who helped organize the meeting. “It (the reprieve) will give time to revisit that bill and put some common-sense reforms in it.”
Boni said the feedback he received from those attending the meeting knew that the law has been in existence but did not realize how restrictive it really is.
For example, during a small game of chance at a fire department or club, if someone would win cash, there would be paperwork filled out. However, if that same person would purchase an instant lottery ticket at a gas station and win $400, they can walk out of the store with their money and fill out no paperwork.
“I don't think anyone's out there to beat the system,” Boni said. “We just want our fair share. Bottom line: Small games of chance are a way of life for volunteer fire departments.”
Solobay and Kasunic both indicated lawmakers are working on revisions to the law based on hundreds of letters and emails from community leaders concerned with the overreach of Act 2.
“Some of us with experience as volunteers and as organization leaders predicted some of these unintended consequences when the bill was making its way through the Legislature,” Solobay said.
“But we couldn't convince everyone of the threat,” he added. “Now, I think, everyone has heard from leaders in their communities, and we're ready to make sure that the law preserves the viability of the organizations that desperately need the money to continue the work they do in the community.”
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Robber threatens employee at Subway in Uniontown Mall
- Volunteer program circles around poverty problem in Connellsville
- Dawson native Leonard finishes season with Braves’ AAA affiliate
- Connellsville area’s weather into December could be mixed bag
- Connellsville Legion needs young veterans
- Connellsville tech center names homecoming queen
- Lynn: Vanderbilt church to sponsor rabies clinic
- Sheetz expansion project given OK by city zoning board
- For some, Dunbar Community Fest is a ‘homecoming’
- War display planned during Dunbar Fest
- Blight ordinance passed by Connellsville City Council