State Law withholds Nonprofits from Online Lottery Ticket Sales in Cashless Society – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Several Pennsylvania nonprofits, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, say state law is behind the timing of their fundraisers.

It all depends on how you donate to your favorite charity.

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Each year, the Pittsburgh Symphony holds a special raffle with a $5,000 cash prize.

“This is our biggest fundraiser yet,” Diane Unkovic, president of the Symphony Society, told KDKA on Monday. “It’s been about 50 years.”

Unkovic said outdated state law prevents nonprofits from selling lottery tickets in today’s cash-less society.

That’s right: No credit cards, Venmo, PayPal, or other payment apps. It’s cash or check only, and that’s the law.

“Non-profits like us can only accept cash payments by check,” says Unkovic. “And my daughter, my son, and nobody I know under 50 has a checkbook anymore.”

Furthermore, many people now want to buy lottery tickets online using credit cards and mobile payment services, but that’s not allowed in Pennsylvania.

Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein said: “The law is so outdated when it comes to this, and it really needs updating.

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Many non-profit organizations such as volunteer fire companies, churches and youth sports teams have been affected, Weinstein said.

“On average, each year, Jon, we will issue 1,000 special lottery licenses and small risk licenses in Allegheny County,” he said.

Efforts to modernize the way lottery tickets are purchased have stalled in Harrisburg, said Representative Ryan Warner of Pennsylvania, R-Fayette County. Warner has a bill to fix some of the problems.

“There is a huge drag from the casino industry and the Bureau of Revenue,” said Warner.

Unlike nonprofits, online casinos use mobile payments, Warner said, while the state worries about lost lottery revenue. But Warner wants equal treatment, saying the pandemic is hurting nonprofits.

“You can still gamble at online casinos,” he said. “Nothing has stopped that, but our volunteer fire departments and nonprofits have been completely devastated.”

“If you can gamble online, you should be able to buy a lottery ticket for an online charity,” Weinstein says.

The House and Senate have both passed different versions of the nonprofit lottery bill that expires at the end of the pandemic.

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Warner said he expects a stronger, permanent solution to be added before the final bill is passed. State Law withholds Nonprofits from Online Lottery Ticket Sales in Cashless Society – CBS Pittsburgh


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