Colorado Bingo-Raffle Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

Date: October 24, 2007
Location: Secretary of State’s Office, Blue Spruce Conference Room, 1700 Broadway, Denver, Colorado
Members Present: Austin Gomes, Dan Gincig, David Esses, Julia Eddy, Nick Pizzuti
Members Absent: Don Kuzina, Daniel Toussaint
Secretary of State Officials Present: Andrew Whitfield, Rudy Johnson, Patrick Ryan, Shannon Bee

Meeting was called to order at 10:02 A.M.

The Pledge of Allegiance was conducted.

A motion was made by Austin Gomes to approve the July 25, 2007 minutes as presented. The motion was seconded and approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

Secretary of State Report

Andrew Whitfield stated that there will be a fee increase. The Secretary of State’s office has to approximate fees to the revenue. Revenue for the licensing division has gone down from the 03-04 fiscal where to the 06-07 fiscal year. Expenditures for the 06-07 fiscal year have increased, causing the office to raise fees to increase revenue. The plan is to raise fees across the board, for manufacturers, suppliers, licensees and halls. The office will try to offset some of the fee increase by re-allocation of employees. These increases will occur in the spring of 2008.

Chairman Gicig stated that it is hard to disseminate information to the licensees and asked that the office try to collect e-mail addresses for the groups on the applications. Mr. Whitfield stated that this is already requested on the forms, but the office will try to use these more in the future.

The Sunset Review was the next point of discussion. Mr. Whitfield stated there were four recommendations that came out of the review:

1. To allow licensees to conduct an unlimited number of occasions. The Secretary of State’s office opposes this recommendation due to smaller groups having issues in there ability to be able to do more occasions and thereby compete. Chairman Gincig felt he also had issues with this provision.

2. Repeal of statutory restriction on cash promotional prizes. The Secretary of State’s office opposes this as we do not want licensees taking away money which should go to their charitable purposes to pay for promotions. David Esses commented that when a promotion is conducted, it is hard to find something that everyone wants, but cash is always something someone would want as a prize. Chairman Gincig stated that normally groups aren’t charged for promotions.
Tom Bednark, a games manager for Colorado Youth Basketball, stated there is usually an increase in attendance when a hall is running a promotion and it is beneficial to the groups. He felt the increase in attendance was at least 20% for the current promotion being run in the hall his group conducts their bingo games.

Austin Gomes commented that the increase only lasts as long as the promotion is occurring, then the numbers go back down. People don’t keep playing.

Annie Dozoretz, of Bingo Docs, stated she used to be involved with a licensed charity and did find that the group did benefit from a hall promotion. As a player, she would rather play for a cash promotion prize or gift certificate than certain merchandise prizes.

Rudy Johnson suggested that the promotions should be regulated by rule and could therefore be changed more easily than if it is left in the statute. Also, rules hearings are attended by more people involved in the bingo community, and their views would be included in the rule.

Mr. Whitfield stated that the Secretary of State may recommend that promotions be taken out of statute altogether and have it be regulated by rule.

Nick Pizzuti commented that it is hard for small groups in their own facility to be competitive with their promotions as they do not have the capacity for larger groups or big prizes.

John Smith, of Bingo Planet, felt that though commercial halls may have a larger capacity for attendance, not every seat is filled during a session. He felt that the large halls really do not get more players than the smaller facilities.

3. Repeal the requirement that Landlord Licensees submit blueprints. The Secretary of State’s office would approve this recommendation.

4. Elimination of the Bingo-Raffle Advisory Board. The Secretary of State’s office would approve this recommendation due to the Board having outlived its usefulness and there are other ways of getting information disseminated to and from the licensees, hall owners, etc. The office would suggest holding task force meetings which tend to have more participation. These type of meetings also have the advantage of making recommendations which are taken directly to the Secretary for his review.

Chairman Gincig felt the Board has helped relations between licensees and the Secretary of State’s office. He felt it was hard in the past to communicate and work with the Secretary of State’s office prior to the Board. The Board brought better communication to the bingo community and the Secretary of State’s office. He also felt the Board would keep these communication channels more open when administration changes or employees change in the Secretary of State’s office.

Mr. Esses agreed with Chairman Gincig that the Board has opened communications between the bingo community and the Secretary of State’s office, but he felt that the Bingo-Raffle Advisory Board is not effective in advising the Secretary of State as the Board has not been asked questions from the office for them to act on.

Julia Eddy felt that the issues in the bingo community are voiced more freely with the Board than they would be in a more formalized setting like a task force.

Austin Gomes was 100% in favor of eliminating the Board. He felt the Board is very divided in its loyalties and many on the Board are there to serve their own interests.

Chairman Gincig felt both the Board and task force are good forums for discussing issues, but with the task force, it would have to be made sure that this option actually occurred and that it would address the issues brought forth from the bingo community.

Mr. Bednark felt the Board has insight into the bingo community and that it is an invaluable tool for the Secretary of State’s office.

Chairman Gincig announced the next Board meeting will be January 9, 2008, unless otherwise noted.

Chairman Gincig moved to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Esses and approved by the Board.

Meeting adjourned at 11:35 A.M.