Alejandro Garay via Unsplash

Voters statewide and in Montclair supported a state constitutional amendment to allow more organizations to keep the proceeds from raffles and bingo games they run.

By 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, the referendum question had 1,183,973 yes votes to 660,407 no votes. In Montclair to that point, voters had backed the measure 7,227 to 4,004.

Currently, certain groups — veterans, charitable, educational, religious, fraternal, civic and senior citizen groups; volunteer fire companies; first-aid or rescue squads, and senior citizens — are allowed to run games such as bingo and raffles.

But only veterans and senior citizen groups have been allowed to use the proceeds from those games to support their groups. The rest can use them only for educational, charitable, patriotic, religious or public-spirited uses.

Now, any groups that are authorized to run the games will be able to keep their proceeds.

“Many nonprofits have seen major financial set-backs over the last year,” Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex), one of the sponsors of a bill that put the measure on the ballot, said earlier this year. “We have seen that allowing veterans and senior citizen groups to use the proceeds from bingo and raffles has helped them tremendously and it is time we expanded those benefits to more groups.”

Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) said at the time nonprofits employ more than 30,000 people in New Jersey. 

“These hard-working employees perform incredibly important jobs and the pandemic has dramatically impacted these programs’ ability to function,” Johnson said. “The net proceeds from game nights will provide much needed support for these organizations.”

The state Constitution will be amended to allow other groups to keep the proceeds as well.

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