With the passage of the new state budget, there is some relief for local charities looking to conduct raffles, according to Assemblyman Steve Hawley, but not all the reforms in the state gaming law that he would like to see.
Last year, many local charities, most particularly, volunteer fire departments, discovered their traditional fund-raising raffles were potentially in violation of state gaming laws, so most of the raffles were shut down.
Hawley introduced legislation aimed at making these charity raffles legal, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed the bill after it was passed by the Assembly and Senate.
This year, Cuomo included some reforms in his budget request and with passage of the budget, those reforms also passed.
The changes will allow charities to accept raffle payments by cash or check and to advertise the raffles on the Internet.
Charities will still be prohibited, however, from selling raffle tickets online.
"Those are the big changes and they will be somewhat helpful, but not (in) the place where I’d like to see it," Hawley said.
He is introducing legislation this session to try and get online ticket sales and credit card sales legal for charity raffles.
Interview with Assemblyman Steve Hawley conducted by our news partner, WBTA.