VFW says bingo ballot issue will help support veterans
When hitting the polls on November 6, you will see an amendment regarding the conducting of the game of bingo. Amendment 4 will remove language limiting bingo game advertising and change the amount of a member of a licensed organization conducting bingo games has to wait to participate in the management of bingo games.
Understanding the ballot
According to the Missouri Secretary of State's Office, the following is the difference between a yes or no vote:
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to remove language limiting bingo game advertising that a court ruled was unconstitutional and not enforceable. This amendment would also allow a member of a licensed organization conducting bingo games to participate in the management of bingo games after being a member of the organization for six months. Currently, the constitution requires two years of membership.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding bingo games.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.
Keeping the VFW running
Don Hentges is the Post Quarter Master at the VFW in St. Martins. He said the amendment lengthens the amount of time members of the VFW have to wait until they can work.
"They've tried a couple times to change it in the past, but the language on the ballot stated that the cost of the taxpayer is unknown, well there is no cost to the taxpayer, it only changes the amount of time we have to wait," Hentges said.
Hentges, a Vietnam veteran said said that bingo is the organization's main fundraiser to help the Veterans organizations, the veterans homes, the VFW service officer program, schools through the voice of democracy and patriots pin program.
"Without the funds from this, we are unable to do a lot of those things," Hentges said.
Bingo at the VFW has been going for more than two decades.
"It takes about 8-10 people to run this every Saturday and we like to have enough help to have it where we can switch off and don't have to work every week, but currently we don't have that luxury, so the same people are here every week working. If we can get the law changed and get more workers, then some of us can take a break," he said.
With a two-year wait currently in place, Hentges said it's hard to keep members.
"When you sign up a new member, they're anxious to get started and they're wanting to help you and if they have to wait two years, by then a lot of them have lost that interest and have maybe even left the organization," he said.
Hentges said the organization hopes to get all the support they can get in November. He said he wants to emphasize that it is no cost to the taxpayer and it's going to help the veterans organizations and all the nonprofit organizations to raise money to support their charities.