Below is the full text of the constitutional amendment which will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot regarding the legalization of raffles.
Authorize Raffles; Sub. for SCR 1618
Sub. for SCR 1618 submits a state constitutional amendment for consideration at the next general election, in November 2014. The amendment, if approved by voters, will allow charitable raffles by certain nonprofit organizations.
The proposal will amend Section 3 of Article 15 in the Kansas Constitution to permit “raffles” if authorized by the Legislature. The amendment will allow the Legislature to authorize the licensing, conduct, and regulation of charitable raffles by nonprofit, religious, charitable, fraternal, educational, and veterans organizations.
“Raffle” is defined in the proposed amendment to mean a game of chance in which each participant buys a ticket or tickets from a nonprofit organization, with each ticket providing an equal chance to win a prize and the winner being determined by a random drawing. The following limitations also are included in the constitutional amendment:
• An organization shall not be able to use an electronic gaming or vending machine to sell tickets or conduct raffles;
• An organization shall not contract with a professional raffle or other lottery vendor for the management, operation or conduct of any raffle; and
• Raffles shall be licensed and regulated by the Office of Charitable Gaming, in the Department of Revenue, or by a successor agency.
Section 3 of Article 15 of the Kansas Constitution prohibits lotteries and the sale of lottery tickets. Voters previously approved three amendments to Section 3, allowing exceptions for bingo (Section 3a. in 1974), parimutuel wagering (Section 3b. in 1986), and a state-owned and -operated lottery (Section 3c. in 1986). This proposal adds a fourth exception in the amendment for raffles, if approved by the voters.
Many Kansans don’t realize that right now raffles are illegal in Kansas. But that might change.
On the Nov. 4 general election ballot, Kansas residents will be able to vote whether or not to make raffles a legal form of gaming in Kansas. Until then, raffles of any nature continue to be illegal, said Jeannine Koranda, Kansas Department of Revenue public information officer.
But, even if the measure passes, that doesn’t mean raffles will suddenly allowed starting Nov. 5, Koranda said. If they are legalized, lawmakers must still write the statues regulating them during the 2015 legislative session.
The Kansas Department of Revenue will oversee the licensing and regulation of raffles if the amendment passes. The new regulations would likely not take effect until July 2015.
In the amendment, Raffle is defined in the proposed amendment to mean a game of chance in which each participant buys a ticket or tickets from a nonprofit organization, with each ticket providing an equal chance to win a prize and the winner being determined by a random drawing.
The next step
According to the KDR, when coming up with the rules, lawmakers will be considering several items including:
• The cost of a raffle license.
• How often an organization can conduct raffles.
• Will all organizations need a raffle license if the prize value is minimal?
• Will the sale of raffle tickets be taxable?
• Can organizations make their own tickets or do tickets need to be purchased from a licensed distributor?
While lawmakers will establish regulations for raffles if the amendment passes, the ballot question states that only non-profit, religious, charitable, fraternal, educational and veterans organizations may apply for a raffle license.
Electronic gaming or vending machines may not sell or conduct raffles.
Article 14 of the Kansas Constitution governs how the constitution can be amended.
One of the two paths is the legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. Either house of the Kansas State Legislature can propose an amendment to the state’s constitution. Two-thirds of the members of each chamber must approve the resolution.
If they do, the proposed amendment goes on either the next statewide ballot during which members of the state legislature are elected, or on a special election ballot if the legislature agrees to have a special election for this purpose.
This was the method used with this amendment when the Legislature approved it during the past session. Now, if a simple majority of the electors of the state who vote on the proposition agree with it, it becomes part of the constitution.
The raffle amendment was introduced in the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs, said committee member Sen. Mitch Holmes (R-St. John). It cleared the whole Senate by 102-19 votes and, eventually the House, but 35 to 0.
“There was really no opposition to the bill,” Holmes said. There was some debate surrounding what limitations should be put on raffles, so the language used was very specific to avoid unintended interpretations.
The fact that raffles were in violation of the state’s constitution came to light following a recent review by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission. Holmes said. “It was a surprise to everybody that raffles were illegal.”
This had been the case for decades, although many groups were conducting such drawings, often changing the wording and rules to skirt the law. Holmes said lawmakers believed it was time for a change.