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September 21, 2019

8/29/2019 2:07:00 PM
State's Star Ratings out for local organizations

Of  20 charitable gambling  organizations in the Chisago County area that are monitored by the state’s Gambling Control Board, all but one met the minimum required spending last year to keep their charitable gambling status.  
Rush City Chamber of Commerce is the exception, on probation for a One Star rating for 2018, out of Five Stars.  The chamber, according to state reports,  spent only 14 percent of its revenue on lawful expenditures.

Minnesota’s Star Ratings were begun several years ago by order of the state legislature as a system to provide people who partake in charitable gambling,  such as raffles, bingo and pulltabs, a simple guage on how the group spends its proceeds.  

A Five Star rating means at least 50 percent of charitable gambling proceeds supported charitable endeavors, after allowed gambling operational costs are covered.

A Four Star rating means 40 percent was spent in lawful ways;  Three Star rating 30 percent, and so on.  

A licensee goes on probation and has a year to increase the percentage of charitable spending when it’s at 30 percent or less.  According to statute 349.15 an organization must achieve at least a 30 percent or Three Star spending level on allowed expenses, within a year, or be subject to sanctions or a suspended license or a civil penalty up to $10,000.

Locally, the only Three Star organization is the Forest Lake Area Athletic Association.  There are a number at the Four Star level:  Chisago City Fire Relief, North Branch Fire Relief, Rush Lake Improvement Association, LARA, Forest Lake Lions, and the VFW and Legion Posts in Forest Lake and the North Branch Legion Post all were rated Four Stars.

The best-ranked organizations, at the Five Star lawful expenditure level are:
Stacy Lions, Shafer Fire Relief, Center City Fire Relief, Lindstrom Fire, and Stacy-Lent Fire Relief Associations.  

Also the Scandia Lions, Lakes Area Center 4 Youth and Families and North Branch Area Hockey Assoc.  are rated Five Star.

Charitable gambling regulations allow the city or county where the gambling takes place to enact an ordinance to collect part of the proceeds.

Shafer collects five percent and the cities of Taylors Falls, Wyoming, Chisago City collect 10 percent.  

Some organizations remit more money to the government than others-- Wyoming received $16,167 as its share in 2017 while Taylors Falls pulled in $1,916.

The electronic games that had a slow start at first a few years ago, have taken hold in the state.  The Gambling Control Board reports there are 1,335 electronic game sites now.  In this area, the Chisago City Fire Relief Association has electronic games at Smitty’s and Scooters. The Pizza Pub in Center City is a reported site for the electronic gaming supporting Center City Fire Relief.  In North Branch there’s electronic gaming at the Legion Post and JJ’s.

Local operations and their revenues included: Forest Lake Lions with $6.6 million and prizes ate up $5.7 million, immediately followed by Forest Lake Area Athletic Association which took in $5.6 million and prize payout was $4.8 million;  the North Branch Area Hockey Assoc. revenues were $5.4 million and prize payout was $4.7 million.  

Rush Lake Improvement Assoc. brought in $5.3 million and prizes were $4.7 million.

Among local firefighter relief associations Shafer Fire Dept. had the best gross at $3.7 million with prizes at $3.2 million; followed by Chisago City Firefighter Relief Fund with $3.6 million in gross and payout of $3.1 million.

Center City Firefighters Relief Fund came in at $2.2 million. Prizes used $1.9 million.

Stacy-Lent Fire department reported $2 million in revenues and prizes at $1.7 millions.

Lindstrom revenues were $1.8 million, prizes were $1.6 million.

North Branch Fire Relief brought in $1.1 million with $1 million paid out.

LARA reported revenues of $1.4 million and prize spending of $1.2 million.

North Branch American Legion Post 85 came in at $1.3 million with prizes at $1.1 million.  The Legion Post in Forest Lake had $1.9 million gross with prizes of $1.5 million.  The VFW in Forest Lake had a gross of $2 million and prize payout of $1.7 million.

The Lakes Area Center 4 Youth & Families collected $1.9 million in its charitable gambling efforts and paid out prizes of $1.6 million.


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