OLR Bill Analysis

HB 7137

AN ACT CONCERNING CHARITABLE BINGO GAMES, BAZAARS AND RAFFLES.

SUMMARY

This bill generally transfers the Department of Consumer Protection's (DCP) charitable gaming (e.g., bingo, bazaar or raffles) investigation, oversight, and permitting functions to the municipality where the games are conducted. But DCP retains the permitting and sales functions for sealed tickets.

Under current law, DCP and the municipality share (1) certain regulatory oversight and permitting powers and (2) certain permit fees. As a result of the transfer, the bill generally reduces the bazaar or raffle permit fees by half because organizations conducting these games no longer have to pay a fee to the state. The bill also eliminates the administrative hearing process for violations involving these games and instead allows anyone aggrieved by an order to appeal to Superior Court.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2018

CHARITABLE GAMING

The bill generally transfers DCP's charitable gaming investigation, oversight, and permitting functions to the municipality where the games are conducted, but not DCP's permitting and sales functions for sealed tickets, which remain with the department.

In transferring DCP's functions to the municipality, the bill specifies that the commissioner's responsibilities are given to the municipal official in the municipality where the games occur. A municipal official is the municipality's chief of police or, if there is no police department, the chief executive officer.

Bingo Inspection

The bill eliminates the requirement that receipt and disbursement information the municipality acquires from a bingo operator's records be available to the emergency services and public protection commissioner upon her request.

Elimination of Charitable Gaming Administrative Hearings

The bill eliminates the gaming administrative hearing process and instead requires anyone aggrieved by an order to appeal to the Superior Court where the municipality is located.

Current law requires the DCP commissioner, after an investigation, to send notice to the suspected violator of charitable gaming law or regulation. The hearing must occur at least 30 days after the notice is mailed. The commissioner must conduct the hearing and appeal in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act.

False Statements Penalties

Current law allows the DCP commissioner to suspend or revoke a permit or impose a civil penalty of up to $200 for anyone who makes a false statement on any charitable gaming permit application or on any report the commissioner requires. The bill (1) transfers to the municipal official the ability to suspend and revoke a permit but not the ability to impose civil penalties and (2) allows the official to issue cease and desist orders for such false statements.

Bazaar or Raffle Application Form

Current law requires any organization applying to operate a bazaar or raffle to apply to DCP on a form that includes, among other things, the (1) applicant's name and address, (2) types of games intended to be held, (3) place where the games will be held, (4) types of prizes offered, and (5) purpose of the bazaar or raffle. The bill eliminates these requirements and instead requires the municipal official to prescribe the application form, which must include a description of the bazaar or raffle.

Raffle Fees

The bill reduces the permit fees by half, except for the class 7 permit fee which remains the same amount. By law, Class 7 permits allow for (1) the operation of raffles for 15 months, (2) up to 12 prize drawings on separate dates, and (3) aggregate value of prizes of up to $50,000.

Under current law, except for the class 7 permit, applicants pay their bazaar and raffle permit fees separately to DCP and the municipality where the event is held. The bill eliminates the state fee, thus reducing the permitting cost by half.

Class 7 Permits

The bill transfers the authority and fees associated with the class 7 permit from DCP to municipalities. Under current law, DCP solely issues permits and investigates the qualifications of class 7 permits.

BACKGROUND

Related Bill

sSB 191, reported favorably by the General Law Committee, also generally transfers DCP's charitable gaming investigation, oversight, and permitting functions to the municipality where the games are conducted.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Safety and Security Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

19

Nay

6

(03/15/2017)