Amendment C: What it means for Coloradans

Molly O'Shea

Proposed Amendment C to the Colorado constitution in the 2020 election would change the current laws around charitable gaming activities, according to the 2020 State Ballot Information Booklet.

The Amendment intends to fundraise for nonprofit organizations, according to the Legislative Council Staff, a nonpartisan research service for the Colorado General Assembly.

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The current rules for nonprofit organizations in regards to operating charitable gaming events is that the organization must be operating for at least five years before applying for a bingo/raffle license.

It also currently states that the individuals working the fundraising events must be unpaid volunteers from the nonprofit organization itself. 

According to the report by the LCS, “Qualified organizations may apply for a bingo-raffle license through the Secretary of State’s office, including … any bona fide religious, charitable, labor, fraternal, educational, voluntary firefighters’, or veterans’ organization that operate without profit. A fee of $100 is required to obtain or to annually renew a bingo-raffle license.”

As defined on Ballotpedia’s Colorado Amendment page, “Charitable gaming is defined as bingo, pull-tab games and raffles that are operated by charitable organizations.”

A charitable organization is “any organization or person who is or claims to be established for charitable purposes,” according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website. The organization or individual works to relieve poverty, distress among other public concerns within the state, according to Ballotpedia. 

Coloradans can still vote in the 2020 election by dropping off their ballots at a designated dropbox in their county or voting in person at a polling place before 7 p.m. Nov. 3.

As reported by CPR News, the two key ballot changes that would be made when voting in favor of Amendment C are allowing for nonprofit organizations to apply for their bingo/raffle license after three years of being in business as opposed to five years and allowing the events to be staffed by employees from outside of the nonprofit that will be paid minimum wage.

The LCS’ Fiscal Impact Statement explained that in fiscal year 2020-21, state revenue will increase by $5,200 because of application and renewal fees for licenses and could increase more based on the quarterly administrative fees charged to license holders.

The Fiscal Impact Statement also reported the state expenditures from this amendment.

“This measure increases state expenditures in the Secretary of State’s Office by $80,096 and 0.6 (full-time equivalent) in FY 2020-21 and by $37,404 and 0.5 FTE in FY 2021-22 and future years,” the report said. “These expenditures are required to process additional bingo-raffle licenses, conduct additional compliance investigations and make changes to the computer system and reporting tools used for bingo-raffle licensing.”

According to CPR News, proponents of the amendment argue that this will make it easier for nonprofits to raise money for their programs. The example CPR gave was that organizations will no longer have to find and train volunteers for the events.

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“Opponents say having to pay workers at these games will increase overhead for the nonprofits,” according to CPR News. “They also argue that professionalizing bingos and raffles make those events more like gambling than fundraising.”

Coloradans can still vote in the 2020 election by dropping off their ballots at a designated dropbox in their county or voting in person at a polling place before 7 p.m. Nov. 3. 

Molly O’Shea can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Molly_O23.