New rule for small games of chance delayed
January 07, 2014 10:55 AM
by SAM KUSIC

Social clubs and other nonprofit groups running small games of chance can breathe a little easier — the state is giving them a temporary pass on filing a newly required financial report.

Under revisions to Pennsylvania’s small games of chance law, organizations that sponsor drawings, punchboards, raffles and pull tabs are being required to make certain financial disclosures about those games to the state. The first of the annual reports was due Feb. 1, but the state Department of Revenue has decided to push back implementation of the rule for one year.

The department said it needs more time to set up the back-office systems for accepting the reports.

So now the reports, which are to include information on how much money each of an organization’s games brings in and the size of the prizes being paid out, will be due by Feb. 1, 2015, for 2014 proceeds.

House Speaker Sam Smith, R-Punxsutawney, said in a statement that he supports the decision.

“This is a sound decision that will ensure the proper infrastructure is in place and functioning properly when the time comes to file these important reports next year,” he said.

This is the second time the state has pushed the reporting deadline back. When the small games of chance law was initially revised in 2012, it required that the first batch of reports be filed by Feb. 1, 2013.

But owing to concerns that the reporting requirement would place an undue burden on the groups, implementation was delayed to allow for some extra time to look at the requirement.

That review led to a second revision that was adopted in November. So given that, the department said it needs a bit more time to put things into place. And organizations said they welcome the extra bit of time to get their books in order.

“Pushing it back a year is a wonderful thing,” said Tom Helsel Jr., government relations committee chairman for the Pennsylvania Elks State Association.

Locally, Dan Fako, the secretary-treasurer at the Clymer Slovak Club, said that while the delay does give his organization more time, it’s not that big of a break — the club has a liquor license and is already required to maintain the information under Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board rules.

The only difference, he said, is having to file it with the state.

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