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VFW, American Legion on the Fence About Slot Machines

24 January 2011 by admin

Did you know that the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion can operate slot machines? No, they do not secretly own casinos or the like, nothing that big. If they did own such a thing they would not be so concerned about a bill in Maryland about whether or not all of their lodges could do more with slot machines.

Right now there are eight lodges in the state that are allowed to operate a handful of slot machines to supplement their income. But lawmakers are trying to push through legislation to allow all of the lodges to operate slot machines, but not all of the VFW and American Legion lodges want the slot machines. The lodges and lawmakers have gone back and forth for years, and still to date all bills have been shot down. Now another one is up for voting and the lodges are still aiming to lobby against it. According to this most recent bill, the lodges could each operate up to five slot machines, paying only $50 to their country as a fee and donating at least half of the income from the slot machines to charity.

It does not sound like too bad of a deal so why are some lodges against the bill and why are some for it?

Those that are for it like the idea of some extra income. Their concern is that with their membership declining, they will not be able to keep their lodges open. More and more of this country’s older veterans dying off, and with such an age gap between our older veterans and the younger ones of Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been a decline in membership. And a decline in membership means less money from dues and less money to keep the lodges running. According to Norty Lucas, commander of American Legion Post No. 26, and Kellar Smith, commander of American Legion Post No. 42, feel that younger veterans are not joining the American Legion or the VFW because they socialize with people their own age as opposed to veterans in their 60s. “We have the perception of being old people’s clubs and the younger veterans don’t join,” said Bill Sollenberger, finance officer of American Legion Post No. 211.

On the surface you would think that veterans associations such as the American Legion and the VFW would welcome any chance to increase their incomes. But the lodges that have already been approved for slot machines or keno have found that their tip jars have less in them. Smith has said he believes that “slot machines would take money away from tip jars, which is the club’s largest revenue stream.”

Sam Snyder, finance officer of American Legion Post No. 222 said that while he was not heard too much about proposals about slot machines he “would support slot machines as long as gaming officials don’t take too much of the profits. After fees and taxes, veterans clubs lose close to 30% of their tip jar profits. They still make money off tip jars, but not like they did before gaming officials stepped in several years ago.”

It is a tricky situation. The real solution would lie in finding an incentive for young veterans to join organizations such as the American Legion and the VFW. But until such a solution can be found, the debate about slot machines in lodges will continue as veterans lodges look for some means to keep their doors open.

And we here at Online Casino Suite say to give some respect to veterans.

One Response to “VFW, American Legion on the Fence About Slot Machines”

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