Walker Vetoes Bill To Loosen Regulations On Charitable Raffles

Department Of Gaming Says Bill Would Have Changed State Gaming Compacts With Tribes

Photo: Alyson Hurt (CC-BY).

Backers of a bill to loosen regulation on charitable raffles say they’re disappointed that Gov. Scott Walker vetoed it, but they plan to tweak the bill and try again next year to get it passed.

The only registered lobbyist who supported the bill was Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators, Inc. (Wisconsin FORCE), which is the state chapter of the National Rifle Association and the local chapter of the gun hunters group Safari Club International. Jeff Nass of WIFORCE says that not only gun groups want raffle regulations changed.

“Churches, volunteer fire departments, along with sporting groups and clubs and fraternal organizations – because most of them make money that way,” said Nass. “And Wisconsin’s gaming laws are so outdated and restrictive and not clear. We’re working just to clarify everything just to make everybody’s life a little simpler.”

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In his veto message, Walker said the bill would violate the state’s agreement with tribal casinos that give tribes the exclusive right to offer gambling. Department of Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis says that when regulators from the state Division of Gaming vetted the bill, they found it would allow community groups to offer electronic raffles. She says that provision would have thrown a wrench into the state gaming compacts with the tribes.

“And if we potentially violate those compacts, what ends up happening is that those compacts get reopened and the tribes could actually not only not pay the state the $15 million that we currently collect from tribal gaming, but that some of the tribes may be entitled to a refund of money from the state,” said Marquis

It’s not clear whether the bill’s author, Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, will eliminate the provisions that endanger the compacts and introduce it again; he did not respond to a request for comment.