New Proposal for VFW, Fraternal Organizations

The Ohio Lottery Commission has come up with another proposal for electronic gaming at VFW posts and fraternal organizations. The commission’s first proposal offered to install their ‘next generation’ gaming machines. That offer was turned down by veterans and fraternal organizations because they would only receive 25% of the proceeds while Intralot, who would build the machines, would get 60%. The remaining 15% would go to education. This offer was rejected because veterans and fraternal organizations didn’t think their cut was enough to cover operating costs and continue charitable giving. Attorney General Mike DeWine had also objected on the basis that not enough of the proceeds would support charity and education.

Under the new Ohio Lottery Commission proposal, veterans and fraternal organizations would get 40% of the profits and the lottery commission’s education fund would receive the remaining 60%. The lottery commission would purchase 1,200 of these next generation machines from Intralot with $21.9 million in taxpayer money. The lottery commission has indicated that it already has potential orders for about 500 of the machines from veterans and fraternal organizations. Next week the state Controlling Board will decide on the proposal.

These next generation machines would be specifically for veterans and fraternal organizations. They would replace the existing electronic raffle machines that Ohio DeWine deemed a form of illegal gambling. The electronic raffle machines will continue to operate until a judge rules on a lawsuit filed by the Ohio Veteran and Fraternal Charitable Coalition that claims these machines are legal. HB 325, which would allow electronic raffle machines by veterans and fraternal organizations, languishes in a House committee. The bill is not expected to move quickly because other gambling interests such as the casinos and racinos are strongly opposed.