Gardner backs quarter auctions PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 10:31
File photo. State Sen. Randy Gardner. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
PEMBERVILLE - Quarter auctions, a popular means of raising money for charities and non-profits, may get a new legal lease on life.
A bill is moving through the Ohio legislature in an effort to fully legalize the practice.
"Basically, what we learned is that the Attorney General did come down in an opinion that quarter auctions, the way they're established or operated in Ohio, are considered a 'game of chance' and in Ohio law, basically it says gambling isn't allowed" unless specifically authorized, said State Sen. Randy Gardner (R - Bowling Green).
Gardner has reintroduced a bill on the subject, Senate Bill 213, which was initially introduced at the end of last year by State Rep. Danny Bubp.
At their most basic, quarter auctions are a type of raffle in which individuals bid for items using quarters. Those wanting to place a bid on an item will place the requisite number of quarters representing their bid in a bucket, and the winner is later picked at random.
"Without having been there, it's kind of hard to visualize," said Julie Price, Pemberville, who has organized quarter auction events for groups such as the Eastwood Band Boosters and the National Alliance on Mental Health. Depending on attendance, groups locally have earned between $1,000 and $2,000 during a quarter auction, and the practice has been popular in the Pemberville area.
"When we got wind that they were considering this a game of change, that we're gambling, we ceased doing the events. So I'm all for it," Price said of the legislation.
Gardner noted that he received emails, largely from Pemberville-area residents, about the issue.
"Basically, what happened, the organizations, because they were non-profit, thought that they were already permitted to do this," he explained.
Gardner met with a group of citizens and consulted with the Attorney General's Office and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, and came to the conclusion that "this is a positive event both to help small businesses and non-profit organizations."
"I guess I came to the conclusion that we should allow - as long as it's non-profit, as long as there are regulations - we should allow organizations to bring (these events) to the community to help raise some money and help support the community."
He noted that the OPAA is in support of the bill and, while the Attorney General's office has not advocated for the bill's passage, "they are not opposed to the bill."
"The proper thing to do is to ensure that they (quarter auctions) are indeed permitted in Ohio," said Gardner.
"I know our charities are missing it," said Price, who said she helped to organize about one such event a month.
The quarter auctions are not only beneficial for charities and non-profits, but also entrepreneurs.
"What's additionally good about these things," said Gardner, "that I learned, is small businesses like to participate in them, they donate their products, but they then get a chance to promote their product in front of, say, 100 people at the Legion Hall," and possibly drum up customers.
Gardner was to testify about the bill Wednesday before the Ohio Senate's Government Oversight Committee.
"This is just the beginning of the process," he said. "It is likely to take a few months to get through the process."
"I'm hopeful that we'll be successful."

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