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Gaming Commission defers action on rules for charitable games

Gaming regulators will have at least one more public airing of new rules governing charitable lotteries and games conducted by nonprofit organizations.

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday deferred action on amendments to Regulation 4A, which governs games of chance that raise money for charitable causes.

New regulations were required as a result of the passage and signing into law of Assembly Bill 117 last spring.

Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan said the legislation and the need for amended regulations came about in the wake of the arrival of major-league sports in Southern Nevada.

The Golden Knights Foundation, the charity wing of the Vegas Golden Knights National Hockey League team, which raises money through lotteries conducted at games, faced limitations under existing rules.

“There was a limit in statute on the amount the nonprofits could raise,” Morgan said. “It’s my understanding that for the Golden Knights Foundation, it made more sense to have one application for the whole season if that threshold was lifted.”

Commissioners clarified that a $500,000 limitation in the regulations applied to the maximum prize allowable to game participants, but not the amount that could be raised by a charity.

When the amendments were drafted, regulators cleared up other aspects of the rules and put charitable games under the same rules as lotteries.

Some changes had unintended negative consequences to some of the smaller charities, and in Thursday’s meeting, commissioners worked through some of the amendments to make them palatable to the various groups.

The commission received letters of concern from several outdoors organizations — the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, the Nevada Waterfowl Association and Nevada Bighorns Unlimited — that feared the proposed rules would place limitations on the participation of youths in fundraising projects.

Age restrictions were the one topic commissioners failed to resolve Thursday.

The proposed rules say, “Qualified organizations shall prohibit and prevent … a person under the age of 18 from entering, purchasing tickets for entry into, collecting winnings from, or participating in the administration of, whether personally or through an agent, any charitable lottery.”

‘Not baked yet’

Representatives of the outdoor organizations say they try to get youth involved in conservation projects early in life to give them an appreciation for the state’s outdoors.

“This simply is not baked yet,” Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo said of the proposed new regulations. “I think we’re 95 percent there, but not quite.”

He said he expects commissioners to have a policy discussion addressing age limitations before final adoption.

Representatives from the organizations pointed out that in their fundraising efforts, it isn’t uncommon for parents to give their children a handful of money to buy tickets in a raffle. Children also make ticket sales on behalf of organizations that take them out on camping trips as part of their outdoor experiences. As the proposal stands, those under 18 would not be able to buy or sell tickets.

Alamo said commissioners would revisit the age issue as early as next month. They could also consider making the age restriction consistent with current gambling laws prohibiting play for those under 21.

The Nevada Resort Association also weighed in on the proposed rules because members view lotteries as a form of competition to casino gambling. The organization was satisfied with the proposed modifications.

Wynn president licensing approved

In another matter, the commission unanimously approved licensing Wynn Las Vegas President Marilyn Spiegel as a key executive.

The Gaming Control Board recommended her licensing earlier this month.

Commissioners had no concerns about her suitability for licensing.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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