AMERICAN LEGION DYER-GUNNELL POST 180

How Virginia Senate Bill 1127 will negatively impact our Post and what you can do about it

In case you are not aware, one way our Post has weathered the fiscal impact of the extended COVID lockdown has been our member’s support of our on-site gaming. The state of Virginia currently allows bingo and other forms of charitable gaming just as it allows black-tie fund-raising events. However, the ability of our members to enjoy these games knowing the proceeds are supporting our Post is now being reconsidered in Richmond. If Virginia’s Senate Bill 1127 passes the companies that support the these types of charitable gaming have informed us the new obstacles will make it ‘not worth their time or effort to continue operating charitable gaming activities for us.” SB 1127 is a direct threat to the financial viability of our Post.

We are asking members to contact their elected officials in Richmond to explain how Senate Bill 1127 will negatively impact the American Legion in Virginia and Post 180 in particular. Below is some suggested verbiage:

Guillermo Guillén, U.S. Army, Retired
Commander, Dyer-Gunnell American Legion Post 180, Vienna, VA
National Security Chair, District 17 and the Department of Virginia
 
SUGGESTED LETTER TO YOUR ELECTED OFFICIAL
 

I’m ________ with the American Legion Dyer-Gunnell Post 180 in Vienna, Virginia. Our non-profit organization has been supporting our community since 1937.

We serve our community by:

  • Helping veterans and their families in need, whether suffering from food or housing insecurity or Post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Helping veterans transition from military service to fulfilling and meaningful work in the civilian sector
  • Supporting the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington DC and the Virginia Affairs Medical Center in Washington DC, and the Virginia Veterans Home

Bingo and other forms of charitable gaming are critical to our ability to stay open and provide the services that our members and community rely on. Over the years, we’ve had to adapt our games within very tight rules from the Charitable Gaming Board to keep people coming back to support us. It’s no different than hosting a black-tie event to raise money. We need fun games that keep our member’s attention so that we can continue to raise money to support our mission.

We know that there are some people who are taking advantage of the charitable gaming laws, and we want to stop that behavior as much as you do. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 1127 creates an environment where it is not worth the time or effort to continue operating charitable gaming activities for any of us. But, without that revenue source I don’t think we will be able to continue operating at all.

  • Charitable Gaming revenues decreased by 1% in 2018 and 3.5% in 2019. This downward trend is already forcing smaller charities to close. The scenario set up in Senate Bill 1127 would create a decrease in revenues that would be ten times or more what we’re already losing.
  • The introduction of new forms of gaming with less restrictions on when they can operate or what they can do are drawing our members away.
  • Even though gross receipts from Electronic Pull Tabs are steadily growing, that growth is not keeping pace with the decline in other revenues from bingo and other games.
  • 90% or more of every dollar played in an Electronic pull tab is returned to the player in prizes (this is higher than any other type of machine in the gaming industry).
  • Electronic pull tab machines in qualified organizations are subject to more regulations on game type, when they can be played, and how many machines are allowed than historical horse racing, skill games, or slot machines at casinos.
  • It’s disingenuous for casinos to holds out the bad actors in charitable gaming as the standard. The majority of us are working hard to serve our community.
  • Even though casinos are investing in big new facilities, they will never be part of the fabric of a community the way we are.

A review of the charitable gaming laws is absolutely necessary, but we can’t let casinos and historic horse racing write those rules without any input from the charities they impact. Please don’t let Senate Bill 1127 destroy the good work we’re doing in our community.

Thank you

(Please sign, date, and provide your mailing address. If comfortable providing, your email or phone number is also helpful. Please see below to find your represenative on the Senate Finance Committee.)

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