NY Gov. Cuomo Axes Charitable Gaming Bill on ‘Giving Tuesday’

Posted on November 30, 2016

Holiday cheer is pervasive after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The concept of “Giving Tuesday” is a relatively new one that encourages people to give to non-profit organizations after a four-day stretch of bargain shopping. The day of giving is catching popularity, but it appears New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo missed the memo.

Cuomo vetoes Charity Gambling Act

Cuomo went on a veto spree on Tuesday and shot down 70 pieces of legislation. One was the Charity Gambling Act. The bill would have legalized the selling of charity raffle tickets online.

Many non-profit organization and local fire and police departments use raffles to raise money. The hope was the raffles could sell tickets online as well as accept credit and debit cards as payment. In some states, like Georgia, lottery tickets are available for purchase online.

The impact on local charities

Local news outlet WKTV reported on the veto on Tuesday. They spoke with the bill’s sponsors, Assembleyman Anthony Brindisi and Senator Joe Griffo, who revealed they had already spoken with two charities who are considering discontinuing their annual raffles after news of the veto.

The co-sponsors issued a joint release today expressing their disappointment over the decision.

“The burdensome restrictions that remain in place concerning how charity raffle tickets can be purchased will continue to make it harder for these organizations to fund important programs, and I am disappointed in the Governor’s veto,” Griffo said in the statement.

Reasons behind the charity bill veto

The statement from Brindisi and Griffo noted the thought process behind the veto. The Governor’s office was concerned the bill violated the state constitution. The constitution stipulates municipalities can offer gambling if they previously voted to allow it. This bill’s online component seemed in violation of that law.

No one voiced these constitutional concerns when the Assembly and Senate considered the bill. Griffo is skeptical Cuomo is sincere about his reasons for the veto.

“We feel that the Governor’s comments and approach are disingenuous because there are other ways we could have addressed his concerns in order to get this legislation approved,” he explained.

Hope for compromise on raffles

Just because Cuomo vetoed the bill does not mean this is the end of the road. After the veto, Cuomo directed the state gaming commission to work directly with charities as well as the bill’s co-sponsors to rework the legislation to address his concerns.

The veto does not necessarily mean Cuomo has an anti-gambling stance. Under his stint as governor, Cuomo has helped usher in the launch of the first full commercial casinos in the state.

In August he also signed a law allowing daily fantasy sports back into the state. That happened after state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed an injunction against DFS operators FanDuel and DraftKings in November of 2015.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the Managing Editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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