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Sports Raffles For Charities Could Be Coming To California

LOS ANGELES ( — Soon, California sports fans could go home from a ballgame much richer than when they arrived.

One of the newest trends in stadiums around the country are sports raffles for charities. 50/50 raffles are becoming an integral element of the sports and entertainment industry.

These raffles have the potential for huge jackpots for both the winner and the charity the raffle is supporting.

At a recent state Assembly hearing, some nonprofit officials said that stadium sports raffles would be a blessing for charities.

The Dodgers and Kings both have pushed support of these and are urging California to legalize sports charity raffles.

Nearly 30 states have legalized such measures.

The large crowds the Dodgers and Kings both bring in would create massive jackpots and increased incentive for fans to participate. With big crowds hoping to go home with some extra cash at the end of the night, lots of raffle tickets would be sold.

Bill SB549 would allow the raffles at professional sports games in California; however, at a recent hearing on the bill, the California Association of Nonprofits said it would not benefit needy charities.

The winners of these raffles would split the large prize 50/50 with the charity, as the team-affiliated charities would conduct the raffles during the sporting events.

According to the group, SB549 would create charity "have" and "have-nots" at the whim of the owners of professional sports teams and their foundations. That is neither fair nor in the nonprofit sector's broader interest, the group argues.

State Sen. Isadore Hall of Compton, who is the author of the bill, claims the critics are from rich communities, not from the poor neighborhoods where help is needed.

"For these people to fly in on their million-dollar kites and to land in the committee of G.O. and say do not help poor people is an embarrassment and an indictment to the public service that I have dedicated my life too," Hall added.

Hall's scathing rebuke notwithstanding, critics charge the bill would create new rules for sports-connected nonprofits and special treatment, too, since under state law all other nonprofit fundraising raffles are required to turn over 90 percent of the cash raised to the charity, and the winner can get 10 percent, a far cry from the 50/50 split the new bill would allow.

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