Public Comments for 10/14/2021 Percentage of Charitable Gaming Receipts to be Used for Required Purposes, Joint Subcommittee to Study
Last Name: Bishop Organization: Richmond Fire Department Foundation Locality: Richmond

Richmond Fire Department Foundation (“RFDF”) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization recognized under federal law and headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. RFDF has operated for thirteen (13) years. The overall mission of RFDF is to support active and retired firefighters and their families in their times of need, financial, emotional, or otherwise. The Metro Richmond Flying Squad (the “Flying Squad”) is an important part of RFDF’s programming that provides “Fire Rehab” services, which include on-scene support and care for firefighters in Metro Richmond as they actively fight fires and recover from those battles. RFDF, through the Flying Squad, provides these services as a service to our community at no cost, and operates strictly on charity and by the hearty support of volunteers, who range in ages and specializations, many of whom are themselves retired firemen and women and their families. Charitable Gaming has, in recent months, proven a critical source of income to RFDF. It allows RFDF to fund its programs, to purchase needed equipment and supplies, and ultimately, to fulfill its mission. Charitable Gaming is responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in donations received by RFDF. It is a fundraising space that RFDF has been able to enter which generates a passive income stream. While RFDF goes about its important non-profit, volunteer mission of supporting firefighters, donations stream in automatically in direct proportion to the organization’s Charitable Games’ use. We respectfully ask that this Joint Subcommittee recognize the public’s interest in, and support the availability of, Charitable Gaming in a sufficient variety of settings and locations to provide easy, safe and responsible public access to this form of entertainment while maximizing the benefit to the charities who rely upon it. It is our hope that this Joint Subcommittee will recognize and appreciate the viability and continued overall benefit of allowing Charitable Gaming to occur not only in lodge settings, but also in settings where gaming is incidental to or in parallel with the operations of other businesses like restaurants. These locations may not resemble the traditional Bingo hall, but are nonetheless patronized by those same individuals who are interested in and would support gaming charitably if given the opportunity. As this Joint Subcommittee goes about its mission to study this arena of gaming, the charities it supports (including RFDF), and its impact on the people of the Commonwealth, it is our sincere hope that your findings will roundly support the continued availability of this critical income stream to charities, to be achieved and offered through a reasonable variety of means, modes, and instrumentalities. Respectfully submitted, Thomas E. A. Bishop, Esq. Law Office of Thomas E. A. Bishop Counsel to the Richmond Fire Department Foundation E-Mail: Tel.: (804) 250-8911 Web:

Last Name: Lucas Organization: Virginia Union University Locality: Richmond

Dear Members of the Subcommittee: I would first like to commend the members of the Subcommittee for their hard work on a very important issue. I firmly believe that better control or reform of charitable gaming should be implemented, and we support your efforts to that wholeheartedly. As I have stated before in written testimony to every member of this Subcommittee, one of the mechanisms Virginia Union University uses to raise funds and support students of minority status in their educational journey are the proceeds from charitable gaming. Charitable gaming has positively affected our student base who are socially and economically disadvantaged and yet are still a vital sector of our economy. Virginia Union University is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit as regulated by the IRS that does not enjoy the benefit of receiving funds from the Virginia Lottery. For my institution, charitable gaming is a mechanism of at least attempting to bridge this disparity gap which has plagued the Commonwealth’s minority communities for many generations. Because our institution and our community have a tremendous stake in this legislation, we have strongly opposed Senate Bill 1127 in the past because, while it attempts to include our community in the equation, it does so in a very limited way by precluding charitable gaming for our institution throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Current legislation only allows our institutions to engage in charitable gaming within the jurisdiction and adjacent jurisdictions in which our principal offices are located. This is another example of the disparity placed upon our institution and our students. The Virginia Lottery is allowed to offer their different types of games to the entire Commonwealth of Virginia to benefit its public institutions of higher learning. Yet our institution, that serves students of minority status throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, is limited to just a mere couple of counties. Expanding the legal locations to conduct charitable gaming would enable the Virginia Union University to expand charitable gaming as a means of raising direly needed scholarship funds for the Commonwealth’s under-served populations. However, unlike the Virginia Lottery, VUU and our agents do not seek to have any affiliation with entities that hold ABC licenses. I urge you to take into consideration these concerns as your joint Subcommittee revisits this legislation. I would be happy to offer additional testimony or supporting materials as the committee continues to conduct its work. Thank you for your consideration of our concerns. Sincerely, Hakim J. Lucas, Ph.D. President & CEO Virginia Union University

End of Comments