The following is an editorial by station manager Sacha Sanguinetti. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Rocking M Radio, Today in Kansas, or their advertisers. Sacha can be reached via email at [email protected].
Raffles as fundraisers for charity. We’ve all seen them…chances are a good number of us have participated in them in one way or another…and why not? It’s usually for a “good cause.” Technically, these are illegal in Kansas…considered gambling under state law. For years the “powers that be” seemed to turn their heads and pretend to look the other way when one of these events occurred…until recently.
Kansas gaming law has prompted the organizers of the Thunder on the Plains motorcycle rally in Dodge City to cancel this year’s event. This particular organization would sell chances for a bike giveaway every year and they have raised more than $60,000 for the families of southwest Kansas military members over the last six events. Then the gaming commission stepped in and shut it down. Similar stories are surfacing as of late with poker runs, fundraisers for schools and for organizations such as the American Cancer Society and local firefighters. A lot of these organizations have come to count on these fundraisers year after year…yet the state is hell bent on putting a stop to it.
The question is: Why? It would seem that perhaps they are worried it is going to cut into their casino and lottery revenues. Maybe I am naïve in the way of the world…but it seems absurd that any kind of fundraising raffle…whether it be for a quilt or even a vehicle…will put a dent in the state gambling revenues. When I buy a raffle ticket, it’s more because I think it’s a good cause, not to fulfill some gambling fix. Casinos and the Kansas Lottery are the obvious choices for that. Most people are the same way. This is evidenced by the common practice of winners that will donate the prize they won right back to the organization…whether it be in the form of cash or the actual prize so that they can raffle it off again and raise further funding.
Kansas is one of just four states without a charity exemption in gambling statutes. This is one of those archaic laws that serves no purpose other than to stunt the ability of local organizations to raise sorely needed funding for our kids…military families…non-profit groups…and other worthwhile causes. It needs to be addressed.
2012 is an election year. I can’t think of a better time to bring it up to your legislator.