Conklin: Bill to help local clubs during emergency disaster approved by committee

HARRISBURG, May 5 – A measure designed to help service organizations stay afloat during emergency disasters, including COVID-19, by allowing them to use up to 100% of gaming proceeds toward operational costs, has been reported favorably out of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, announced today.

Conklin, who serves as the Democratic chair of the committee, said the current business shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit these organizations hard. House Bill 777 would allow for a change to the state’s Small Games of Chance Act during an emergency-related disaster declaration connected to COVID-19. This change would allow up to 100% of game proceeds to be used to cover expenses, such as rent, payroll and utilities. Currently, the act mandates game proceeds be split 60% to charitable purposes, with the remaining 40% to be used to support the club’s operations.

“These groups, which provide a place for our veterans to stay connected and support a variety of local charities, truly are the backbone of our communities, and due to the governor’s business closure order, they’re not able to raise funds, their employees aren’t allowed to work and they’re not getting paid,” Conklin said. “This bill would be a lifeline for these organizations during an emergency disaster, allowing them to eventually reopen and provide vital support to communities.”

The bill is expected to be considered soon in the House.