Colorado Bingo-Raffle Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

Date: March 12, 2008
Location: Secretary of State’s Office, Blue Spruce Conference Room, 1700 Broadway, Denver, Colorado
Members Present: Dan Gincig, Don Kuzina, David Esses, Austin Gomes
Members Absent: Daniel Toussaint, Nick Pizzuti, Julia Eddy
Secretary of State Officials Present: Andrew Whitfield, Rudy Johnson, Patrick Ryan, Norm Adams, Shannon Bee

Meeting was called to order at 10:03 A.M.

The Pledge of Allegiance was conducted.

A motion was made by Don Kuzina to approve the January 9, 2008 minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by David Esses and approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

Secretary of State Report

Andrew Whitfield reviewed the financial information provided from the Secretary of State’s office on bingo and raffles. Esses wanted to report that the financials show that gross profits for groups is up according to the handout. John Amen pointed out that the increase is due to the drop in the number of groups doing bingo. What needs to be considered is the net profit totals which shows a definite decline.

Rudy Johnson report that there were only 4 formal complaints so far for 2008 and 2 of those have been resolved. The number of complaints so far is consistent with other years.

Status of Bingo Legislation

Dan Gincig reported that the legislation is in the Senate today for its third reading. The current legislation keeps the Bingo-Raffle Advisory Board, and allows the number of games played per year and the amount of cash offered for promotions to be set by rule. Mr. Whitfield stated that language had been added to the legislation to investigate the feasibility of moving the Licensing Section over to the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

Chairman Gincig stated that rules hearings will have to be set to enact rules which need to be in place once the new law goes into effect. He also pointed at that now would be the time to look at changing any current rules if there was any interest. Chairman Gincig wanted to discuss with the Board and audience members what limits should be considered on number of games allowed per year and the cash allowed for promotions.

Bunny Nolan, of the Boys Club of Greeley, felt that 3 games a week works for them, but she could see where larger groups might want or need more games.

Chairman Gincig stated that of the larger groups he has spoken to, they would like to see a limit of 4-5 games a week allowed.

Marc Rosen, of WSBS, voted for 5 games a week.

Tom Bednark, of Colorado Youth Basketball, said he was happy with 3 games a week, as it is too hard for him to get volunteers for more, but he felt that if other groups needed more, they should be allowed to have more.

Karen Shield, of Boys Club of Greeley, said she would be for 5 games a week.

Mr. Kuzina wanted the rule to say that whatever cap is put on the number of games, that maximum should not be less than 158 games per year.

John Adams, of Jimmy Reed Ministries and the Southeast Center for Judaism, said that groups should be allowed to do 6 or 7 games a week during their busy season and then be able to cut back for the remainder when they are not as busy. The limit should be on an annual not weekly basis.

John Amen advised the Board to proceeds slowing in increasing the number of games allowed. He suggested making it a maximum of 4 per week to begin with, and see how well groups do with this over a period of time, say a year. He knows of groups who cannot do over 2 sessions per week and would not be able to take advantage of the increase. The increase would potentially impact group on group competition. The number could always be increased from 4 to 5 a week later if it is working for the groups.

Mr. Whitfield had a recommendation that first we might look at how many groups are coming up against the 158 games per year limit to see who is being impacted and who might benefit from an increase.

David Esses stated that of the groups he has asked on what number of games would they like to have per week, most said that 4 would be sufficient, but he also did not ask these groups if this would be the upper limit they would like to have.

Ms. Shield stated she felt that work needed to be done on the regulations concerning the types of games allowed. She felt the extra games would not be needed if they could not get more players into the halls to participate.

Chairman Gincig next wanted to discuss the cap on cash prizes at promotions.

Ms. Nolan said she liked where it was now, she did not want to give away cash promotions.
Chairman Gincig stated that from a hall owners point of view, people get excited about cash prizes, and he felt that a $5,000 cash promotion maximum would be sufficient, with the $10,000 merchandise promotion remaining the same for hall owners.

Mr. Esses was in favor of cash promotions. He felt the hall promotions are a way of supporting the groups that play in the hall, and any way that the hall could support its groups is a benefit.

Mr. Bednark was in favor of giving away cash as a promotion and a $500 limit on what a group could give away would be adequate.

Mr. Kuzina suggested that the cash promotion limits should be the cash equivalent of the promotion limits for merchandise and services, $10,000 for halls and $1,000 for groups. Mr. Rosen agreed with this proposal.

Chairman Gincig stated he would like to see a possible change to the rule concerning the number of faces allowed on the machines. He would also like to look at changing the cap on payouts. He had heard from some players that they would like higher payouts even though it would raise the cost of playing.

Chairman Gincig said his opinion was that the cash payout limit of $2,000 was doing well.

Ms. Nolan said they did well with the $2,500 limit.

Mr. Rosen felt the payout limit should go back to $1,500. He said that if it was this way across the board, groups would not lose any players. The increase in payouts did not increase the number of players, as seen on the financials provided by the Secretary of State’s office, it just redistributed the players to groups giving away more.

Mr. Amen felt everyone needed to keep in mind that there are isolated spots doing well in bingo, but we need to keep the numbers in mind. The $2,000 payout limit over the last year has not changed how the bingo industry is doing, it still is declining. We need to proceeds with caution when deciding to increase the payout limit.

Mr. Kuzina stated that the economy is down currently and this must also be taken into consideration when looking at the decline.

Mr. Whitfield asked about the potential change in the progressive limit. Chairman Gincig stated the $15,000 limit is fine with him.

Chairman Gincig also stated he would like to look at changing the rules to allow new games at the rule hearing.

Mr. Kuzina stated groups are not taking advantage of the progressives allowed currently. Now groups can run up to 3 progressives at the same time. Groups need to look at doing at least 2 progressives at a time which would keep the jackpot chasing to a minimum (the prize in one progressive could go while the same group had another going, so they weren’t starting completely over).

Mr. Esses felt that as far as payouts were concerned, the limit should remain at $2,000.

Mr. Gincig next wanted to discuss training for Board Members. Mr. Whitfield said all the duties and responsibilities of the Board are stated in the Statute and are also outlined in the handbook given to each new member. Any training would just be a reiteration of what can be found in the law and handbook.

It was decided the next meeting would be set so the rule hearing could occur at the same time.

Chairman Gincig stated he would also like a rule change to allow for passive play on the electronic equipment.

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

Meeting adjourned at 11:35 A.M.