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This bill is has been substantively updated since we reported on it in its original chamber. An amendment would mandate that the winning number of a charitable raffle conducted under this chapter may not be communicated to raffle participants by means of interactive and instantaneous technology. We remain in neutral of this legislation.
First chamber analysis below:
Currently, certain qualified organizations are allowed under Texas law to hold up to two charitable raffles per year. Qualified organizations are certain types of religious nonprofits, certain types of emergency and first responder entities, and nonprofits meeting several narrow qualifications and registered with the IRS under Section 501(c). Charitable organizations connected to professional sports teams are included as qualified organizations.
House Joint Resolution 73 and its enabling legislation, HB 975 would amend the Texas Constitution in order to allow professional sports team charitable foundations to organize more than only two charitable raffles per year. Under this legislation they would be able to hold one raffle per game played. These raffles would be conducted under the terms and conditions imposed by general law. Such foundations could also use part of the proceeds to pay for reasonable operational and administrative costs.
HJR 73 and HB 975 would reduce the scope of government and favor individual liberty by giving more flexibility to these foundations to organize more charitable raffles to raise money and to offer part of the proceeds as a cash prize, hence possibly encouraging more people to participate and raising more funds for their charitable causes. This moves in the right direction of getting the government out of the business of regulating charitable raffles.
However, in broadening the raffle allowance for only one type of charity, this legislation excludes the other types of qualified organizations from receiving the same benefit and leaves them capped at only two raffles per year.
While we support the general aims of the bill we oppose the fact that it is designed to benefit only a narrow set of special interests and not all of the qualified organizations. Balancing these issues, we are neutral on the legislation.
We would support an amendment to broaden the scope of the bill to apply to all organizations qualified to run a raffle in Texas. Such an amendment could cap the total number of raffles for any organization to match the number allowed for whichever sports team plays the most games and thus is allowed the highest number of raffles under this legislation.