It’s hard to wrap your head around $2 billion in sales in fiscal year 2018 (“Charitable gambling in state soars past $2B, Aug. 26). Let me peel the onion back a little for you.
Minnesota charities paid out $1.7 billion in prizes to our patrons who play our games. We were left with $300 million to pay expenses, taxes and make donations. About $75 million went to our 10,000 employees (an average of $7,500 per person annually). About $75 million went to other expenses (vendors, rent, etc.). About $80 million went to the state in taxes and fees.
That left us with $70 million for our communities and missions.
After citing two shining examples of stewardship (Blaine Hockey and Knights of Columbus in Fairmont), the article left the reader to conclude that the rest of us are rather self-serving, a conclusion those of us raising funds for our communities and missions would dispute.
Among the 1,150 licensed organizations throughout the state, the majority of gambling managers are paid the equivalent of the minimum wage.
Allied Charities of Minnesota (a 501(c)(6) trade organization representing licensed gaming charities) has repeatedly asked the Gambling Control Board for guidance on gambling manager pay (all other employees are under mandated state/federal guidelines) and the board has refused to help.
Each organization needs to decide what (if anything) to pay its gambling manager. One of the considerations is that they need to explain that amount when questioned, either by members or those outside of the organization. Factors going into compensation are number of sites, number of employees, total dollars involved, hours worked and bottom line mission dollars delivered to the organization.
Charitable gaming in Minnesota is under attack from those who benefit from our labors who would not otherwise be thought of as needing mission dollars. While our sales and taxes paid have doubled over the past five years, our mission dollars have not. The charity is being taken out of charitable gaming.
For the state to be taking more money from us than we earn for our communities and missions, while describing us as self-serving, is interesting to say the least.
Allen Lund is executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota.