Common Sense in the Gambling Debate? It’s Possible

April 26, 2013 

BIZ REAL-VACATIONLOTS RA

Nonprofit raffles could become legal in South Carolina if voters approve them in 2014.

CHUCK LIDDY — MCT file photo

Kudos to S.C. lawmakers – and particularly Murrells Inlet Republican Sen. Ray Cleary – for pushing through legislation to give voters the chance to allow churches and other nonprofits to hold fundraising raffles.

Current rules are simply too draconian – and as a result are often flouted with impunity. Even opponents to organized gambling can have no complaints about churches raising money for a new playground or the local Lions Club raising money to buy hearing aids for needy children. The state Lions president said the group has lost $500,000 a year since state police threatened one club and the opted to cease all raffles. That’s simply preposterous.

The change as passed includes logical limits that previous versions lacked, preventing, for instance, for-profit operators from popping up and offering to hold raffles on behalf of a nonprofit for a cut of the earnings. And because a prohibition on gambling is part of our state’s constitution, an amendment to allow these raffles must still go before voters for their approval in 2014. We’d encourage residents to support it next year.

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