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Louisiana Charitable Gaming

The Office of Charitable Gaming (OCG) within the Department of Revenue monitors and regulates charitable gaming in Louisiana. Charitable gaming in Louisiana is defined as an activity by a nonprofit organization that raises funds by conducting games of chance where all net proceeds are contributed to bona fide charitable causes. Only licensed charitable organizations are allowed to offer bingo, electronic video bingo, keno, raffles, pull-tabs and casino nights. Seven different types of licenses are issued by the OCG for two types of organizations, commercial lessors, two types of distributors and manufacturers.

A charitable organization for purposes of conducting games of chance must be a nonprofit board, association, corporation or other organization based in Louisiana and must have a 501(c) status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for exemption from federal income tax. However, there are a few exceptions that do not require an organization to acquire a 501(c) status. The exceptions are a Mardi Gras carnival organization that has a parade permit; a civic or service association that earns less than $5,000 in gross proceeds from gaming; and a booster club or parent-teacher association for a public or private, nonprofit school.

The entire net proceeds received from all charitable gaming activity must only be used for one of the five permitted uses as required by law. The proceeds must be devoted to purposes that are educational, charitable, patriotic, religious or public-spirited.

In April 2002, a bill (HB161) failed in committee which, had it been passed, would have levied a tax of 5% on electronic pull-tab device net winnings. The tax was to be collected by the OCG and the tax proceeds would have first been used to defray the cost of connecting the devices to a central state computer.

In 2005, Rep. Martiny introduced HB564 (Act 373), which revised the operation of progressive bingo games in the charity gaming laws. The mega jackpot for progressive bingo was increased from $50,000 to $100,000, and the requirement that contributions could be made only after the jackpot limit had been reached was removed. The bill also increased the amount of contributions that could be made during a progressive jackpot game, if the jackpot limit was raised from $100 to $200. The bill provided that, for purposes of approval of charitable gaming by parishes, bingo meant electronic video bingo as well. Population limits for organizations that network together to conduct progressive mega jackpot bingo games were removed, provided that the games were authorized within the parish.

SB101 was passed in the Senate and was signed by the governor on 31 May 2012, as Act 351. The bill increased from 15 to 20 the number of days within a calendar month that a licensee was permitted to conduct charitable games of chance. The bill was effective on 1 August 2012.
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