Voters in the town of Gilboa will get a chance on Election Day to help charitable and educational and fraternal organizations raise a little money.
Gilboa residents will see two propositions on the ballot when they get to the polls on Nov. 6: one to authorize games of chance and the other to approve bingo.
The ballot initiatives stem from research by Gilboa-Conesville Superintendent Ruth Reeve, who halted plans for a 50/50 raffle at the school when she was serving as principal four years ago.
Approval or disapproval won’t have an impact on the school budget, Reeve said, and youth under age 18 are not allowed to play bingo or games of chance.
But adding some fun to fundraising might be beneficial to organizations that will be allowed to get a license from the Town Clerk if the law is approved, Reeve said.
That includes the school’s Booster Club, which raises money for things like socks and jackets.
“It can help the fire department and it can help the local churches,” Reeve said.
The Gilboa Town Board approved the local laws earlier this year after a request from the school district.
In order to take effect, voters have to give the OK at the polls, according to town attorney Raynor Duncombe.
Town Supervisor Anthony Van Glad said the town received a request from the school district and simply agreed to go forward with the proposals.
Though bingo and games played during “Vegas night” events and carnivals appear relatively innocuous, there’s a long set of rules proscribed in New York State law governing the practice.
State law provides for a specific list of entities able to run bingo or games of chance. It includes religious, charitable or bona fide educational, fraternal, civic or service organizations.
Organizations of veterans, volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers are also eligible to get a license to hold bingo events or games of chance once licensed by the town.
If approved, there’s another set of strict rules that apply to conducting the games.
Bingo supplies — like sheets people drop their bingo chips or pennies on — have to be purchased by a vendor that’s licensed by the state.
And the organization planning to hold the event can only advertise on a single sign no greater than 60 square feet in size.
Bingo events can’t be held for more than 18 days straight in three successive calendar months and no alcohol can be offered as a prize.
No prize can exceed $1,000 and no series of prizes can exceed $3,000, according to state law.
A conviction for breaking the rules, the law states, is punishable as a misdemeanor.
A full set of rules on bingo and games of chance can be found at www.racing.ny.gov.