Colorado Bingo-Raffle Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

Date: February 14, 2007

Meeting called to Order at 10:10 AM

The board conducted Pledge of Allegiance

The Chairman asked for minutes. Shannon Bee said they were on the web. Minutes could not be approved because no one had read or listened to them. Shannon explained that it was an audio file and the board members could listen to the entire meeting.

Chairman asked whether we could send out an email to tell board where the minutes can be found.

Mr. Shea said he would send out an email.

Mr. Shea gave the report from Secretary of State and presented the 2006 financial figures.

Mr. Shea discussed SB07-135 and the amendments that were made to the original draft in Senate State Veteran’s and Military Affairs.

Mr. Kuzina asked whether the financial report was for everyone through 2006 or just those who had reported. Mr. Shea said that most of the reports that were not in were those who had not conducted any activity in the fourth quarter.

Mr. Shea introduced Secretary of State Mike Coffman who made his comments concerning how the Secretary of State’s office could help make things better in bingo. The Secretary of State said he was concerned about the exemption for casinos with respect to the non-smoking issue.

The Chairman asked Mr. Kyle whether he knew what the status of the exemption for small bars and charitable gaming was. Mr. Kuzina asked about exemptions for fraternal organizations.

The Chairman stated that it was the responsibility of the board to help all participants in charitable gaming without focusing on individual agendas but looking at the larger question of improving bingo.a

Mr. Caine asked how many members of the board were involved with Colorado Charitable Bingo Association. Mr. Kyle said two.

There was a discussion of how to improve bingo in the Denver metroplex.

Mr. Pizzutti said that he was happy with what was happening in his area.

Mr. Kuzina said that he had been traveling the state and that bingo was hurting everywhere. He said that even the fraternal organizations who operate bingo were saying that their crowds were down.

Secretary of State asked everyone to identify themselves for the taping of the meeting.

Mr. Caine talked about the decline of bingo. He said that he had spoken with a number of people who told him that bingo was declining because of the way bingo is being played, the introduction of electronic devices, the increase of prices, etc. He said that Colorado is not like Nevada or Oregon with respect to gambling. He discussed the lack of participation by bingo licensees in last year’s non-smoking legislation. He spoke against the concept of the bingo promotion bill.

The Secretary of State said that everyone had an opportunity to speak for or against the bill when it comes up in the House. Mr. Caine discussed the difficulty of attending meetings scheduled by the Legislature.

Mr. Kuzina asked Mr. Caine whether he was aware that SB135 would exclude the fraternals prior to the meeting.

Mr. Pizzutti said that it doesn’t exclude all fraternals, only those that operate in commercial halls.

Mr. Kuzina said that it would exclude the great majority of fraternal licensees.

The Chairman said that the numbers that he had looked at would be around $5-8 per occasion. He said that there are already some halls who have come together to do some television advertising. He said those charities were voluntarily contributing $50 per month to participate in an advertising campaign. He said that the hall was receiving a lot of telephone calls asking about times, locations and prices and was getting positive feedback from the callers. He said that advertising had a cumulative impact. He said that the decline in bingo is a result of the casinos coming to Colorado. He said that Davenport (supplier) primarily sells pickles to fraternal organizations but even those sales are down according to the charts that Mr. Shea presented. He said that even if fraternal organizations are excluded from the bill they will still benefit from the advertising.

Mr. Pizzutti said he had a problem with the board equating bingo with casino gambling. He stated that bingo was more of a community affair and social environment involving a skill by the player. He compares the bingo advertising bill with auto advertising. Auto sales are down but Medved Chevrolet doesn’t go to his competitors and say “help me advertise my cars.” Casinos don’t generate advertising that says “go gamble in the mountains.” Mr. Pizzutti said that he doesn’t know whether hall owners are reducing their fees to organizations that can’t afford the hall rental. Halls should do whatever is necessary on their own to increase bingo participation. He said he had a problem with the bill.

Ms. Eddy said that the individuals who go to the casinos are also the ones who play bingo as these people talk about it on the floor of the bingo hall. She disagreed that bingo is similar to car sales. She said that people don’t know what is available in their local bingo halls. She said that there were members of Catholic Media Groups, her organization, that didn’t know about bingo. This promotion is to let people know that bingo exists right in their own neighborhoods. She said that the trend in legislation and rules has been to allow the organizations to try more things based on what they know about their market.

Mr. Kuzina remarked that generic advertising has a lot of benefit.

The chairman asked Ms. Dozoretz to talk about advertising and her specific charity.

(Couldn’t hear Ms. Dozoretz.)

Mr. Kuzina responded to Mr. Caine’s comment that television advertising would be a waste. He said that the process for the types of promotion would be subject to rule making and discussion.

Mr. Esses said that he had gotten involved with the chairman in developing a tv promotion campaign. “We all know what’s not working but we need to try new things to see what will work. It’s whatever works for the organization. Not everything works.” He said that he has not charged his groups for the advertising but if it works, he expects them to help him with the cost. He credited CCBA with attempting to propose new things. He said that in two different halls, one pickle would work in one hall and not in another.

Mr. Pizzutti congratulated Mr. Esses on doing it on his own. He said that he has free advertising available in the local newspapers in the Loveland area. His group also pays for some limited advertising. He said that it was an individual approach.

Mr. Caine said if you want to advertise your hall, do it, but don’t force everyone else to participate.

Ms. Eddy said that individual advertising and general awareness advertising were not mutually exclusive. All groups could take advantage of general awareness advertising. Those who object to general awareness advertising should come down to the legislature and make their objections known. If the bill passes, they could also make their objections known during rule-making.

Mr. Esses asked Mr. Caine whether the groups that he has talked to who oppose the bill have any alternative suggestions.

The Chairman said that each charity and hall has the ability to do what they want to do. Some have taken advantage of the new rules and are making more money and some have not made any changes in their operations.

The Chairman asked whether there were any other areas that the group wanted to talk about concerning how bingo could be approved.

The Chairman asked for closing comments.

Mr. Kuzina said he had talked to those who were for it and those who were against it. He will support the bill.

Mr. Pizzutti said there were pros and cons and everyone needed to keep an open mind.

Mr. Esses had nothing more to say.

Ms. Eddy said that the temporary nature of the bill allowed the board to assess the results after time and go back and make necessary changes.

The Chairman agreed with all of the comments of the board. He said that he is torn in supporting a bill that may provide benefits to the whole industry. He asked whether he could he do better just advertising on his own.

There was a general discussion on the timing of the bill passage and the implementation of rules.

The next meeting is set for April 11, 2007.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:02 AM