Saturday, September 13, 2003

Groups fear anti-gambling law could curtail charitable efforts



By James Hannah
The Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio - A new state law targeting scam artists is frightening fraternal and veterans groups that raise money through gambling for the needy in their towns.

Organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Eagles fear that the law, which went into effect July 1, could wipe out their donations to local causes by requiring half the proceeds be given to federally certified charities.

"If we've got a hungry family in town, we can't donate to that," said William Seagraves, a member of VFW Post 9582 in suburban Vandalia.

The law capped a three-year crackdown on bingo operations that sometimes provided little money to the charitable groups they said they were helping.

Organizations previously could run gambling operations as long as all of the proceeds went to charity. However, some groups used some of the money to maintain their facilities or bankroll their operations, which was illegal.

Under the new law, the groups can legally use 45 percent of the proceeds for overhead, but must send 50 percent to federally chartered charities.

That leaves 5 percent for local causes.

State Rep. Derrick Seaver, D-Minster, voted for the bill but now wants to allow fraternal and veterans groups to use all profits for their own charitable purposes, enabling them to donate as much as they want for local needs.

"There were a lot of unintended consequences," Seaver said.

The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Jon Husted, R-Kettering, said the law does not hurt local donations. He said the veterans and fraternal organizations can set up their own charities, get them certified and then funnel money to community efforts through those charities.

Andy Caprella, an official with VFW Post 1275 in Lima, said he fears the law could prevent the post from supplying honor guards, Bibles and flags for veterans' funerals and from donating money to local Boy Scout troops and distributing Halloween candy to children.

"They're dictating where the money goes," Caprella said. "We were all asleep at the switch."

To become a federally chartered charity, a group must apply to the Internal Revenue Service for a license.

The charity must be dedicated to such things as helping the poor or advancing education. It is barred from trying to influence legislation and engaging in political campaigns.




TOP STORIES
Ach surrenders on check charge
Afghans revel in freedom
Condo buying booms in OTR

IN THE TRISTATE
Firehouse price tag growing
Naked in the garden
Schools add fitness center
Jarvi to be a pop
Hard on a scholar - giving up his books
Picture of the day: Up there showing off
Regional Report

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Bronson: Rumors fly around Cincinnati's Blue Ash Airport
Howard: Good Things Happening
McNutt: Black Walnut Festival will celebrate autumn

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Court reporter lauded
Event celebrates Deerfield
Edgewood's new field house is a source of community pride
Daughter of longtime Mason doctor opens animal hospital in hometown
Circling plane creates phone panic

OBITUARIES
John Aber, 52, writer and college professor
Gloria A. Byrd, 45, founded Kenwood day spa and salon
Kentucky obituaries

OHIO
Blackwell proposes repealing tax boost
Satan worshiper gets death in killings of 3
Funeral home's owner convicted of corpse abuse
Groups fear anti-gambling law could curtail charitable efforts
Man handcuffed to steering wheel pulled from burning car
Wisconsin boy missing over a year found in Ohio
HBO boosts 'Shaker Heights'
Bush plans to visit Sept. 30
Ohio Moments

KENTUCKY
UK announces record enrollment, rise in black students
Teachers want out of medical duties
Fletcher campaign is first with TV ads
Fletcher's trove double Chandler's
Junk TV? Hebron man shows gift for garbage
Suit filed to overturn Lexington smoking ban
Racist fliers offend, anger many
Principal wins recognition
Truants' moms ordered to court
Kentucky News Briefs