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Current through Dec. 1, 2016

11-19-30. Definitions

The following definitions apply within this chapter:

(a) "Charitable organization " means any benevolent, educational, philanthropic, humane, patriotic, social service, civic, fraternal, police, labor, religious, eleemosynary person, and/or persons holding themselves out to be a charitable organization.

(b) "Charitable purpose" means any benevolent, educational, humane, patriotic, social service, civic, fraternal, police, labor, religious, or eleemosynary purpose, provided that no part of the net earnings inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.

(c) "Department " means the division of state police unless otherwise described.

(d) "Director " means the superintendent of state police or the director's designee.

(e) "Permitted game of chance " means the game commonly known as "Bingo" or "Beano" or substantially the same game under any other name, or a raffle or lottery or that lottery commonly known as a "twenty (20) week club".

11-19-31. Registration of charitable organizations

(a) No charitable organization which intends to conduct a permitted game of chance within the state of Rhode Island shall conduct a game unless it shall file a registration statement with the department upon prescribed forms and receives a certificate of approval.

(b) In addition, in order to obtain a renewal of registration, charitable organizations shall file the statements required by this chapter prior to June 1st of each year.

(c) It shall be the duty of the president, chair, or principal officer of a charitable organization to file the statements required under this chapter. These statements shall be sworn to and shall contain the following information:

(1) The name of the organization and the purpose for which it was organized.

(2) The principal address of the organization and the address of any offices in this state. If the organization does not maintain an office, the name and address of the person having custody of its financial records.

(3) The place where and the date when the organization was legally established and the form of its organization.

(4) The names and addresses of the officers, directors, and/or trustees of the organization and the names and addresses of officers, staff, and/or members who receive a salary or any other form of compensation, the source of which is the proceeds from the permitted games of chance subject to subdivision (9) of this subsection.

(5) A copy of the annual financial statement of the organization audited by an independent public accountant licensed by the state of Rhode Island for the organization's immediately preceding fiscal year, or a copy of a financial statement covering, in a consolidated report, complete information as to all the preceding year's fund-raising from the above-mentioned games showing kind and amount of funds raised, costs and expenses incidental to it, and allocation or disbursements of funds raised.

(6) The general purpose or purposes for which the proceeds from the game shall be used.

(7) The name or names under which it intends to conduct the game.

(8) The names of the individuals or officers of the organization who will have final responsibility for the custody of the proceeds from the game.

(9) A listing of the names, addresses and the compensation of all individuals, directors, officers, agents, servants, and/or employees of the organization who receive compensation, commission, or other remuneration, directly or indirectly, from the gross receipts of such games in excess of seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) annually.

(10) The names of the individuals or officers of the organization responsible for the final distribution of the proceeds. The director or the director's designee shall examine each initial application of charitable organizations for the right to conduct the above-mentioned games and each renewal application of charitable organizations for the right to conduct such games and if found to be in conformity with the requirements of this chapter and all relevant rules and regulations it shall be approved for registration.

(d) The registration forms and any other documents prescribed by the department shall be signed by an authorized officer, an independent public accountant, and by the chief fiscal officer of the charitable organization and shall be verified under oath.

(e) The department shall make or cause to be made any investigation of any applicant that it shall deem necessary. As a result of its investigation and action, the department shall certify to the local police department or local licensing authority its approval or disapproval of the application. No applicant shall be approved if one or more of the following facts is found to exist:

(1) That one or more of the statements in the application are not true;

(2) That the applicant is or has engaged in a fraudulent transaction or enterprise;

(3) That the game would be a fraud upon the public;

(4) That game expenses during any of the three (3) years immediately preceding the date of application have exceeded twenty-five percent (25%) of the total gross money or gross receipts raised or received by reason of the games. In the event special facts or circumstances are presented showing that expenses higher than twenty-five percent (25%) were not unreasonable, the department, pursuant to rule and regulation, has the discretion to allow the higher expenses;

(5) That the expected cost of conducting the games for the specific year for which the application will exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the total gross money or receipts to be raised or received by reason of the games; or

(6) That the activities to be financed will be incompatible with the health, safety, or welfare of the state of Rhode Island.

11-19-32. Operation of bingo games

Any charitable organization approved by the department may promote, carry on, or conduct the game of bingo provided as follows:

(1) The game is conducted by members of the organization.

(2) No person in the actual or constructive management and control of the game receives any compensation for services connected to the game or receives any compensation from the gross receipts of the game.

(3) The entire net receipts of the game are applied solely to the charitable purposes of the organization. All expenses deducted from gross receipts must be reasonable and related to the actual conduct of the game.

(4) The total amount of all expenses deducted from the gross receipts shall not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the total annual gross receipts raised through bingo, not including monies raised through the sale of pull-tab lottery tickets.

(5) The total prizes, in the form of cash and/or retail merchandise including prizes from winner-take-all games, which are offered or awarded do not exceed the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500) in any one night.

(6) The game is carried on or conducted not more than twice in any period of one calendar week under a license issued pursuant to the provisions of 11-19- 37.

(7) That there be only one sponsor for each date of the proposed game and that the game shall be conducted only on the premises affiliated with the organization in conformance with rules and regulations.

(8) That any building in which a game is played or conducted shall be used no more than three (3) times in any calendar week for conducting a game, and that no annex or subdivision of any building shall be permitted to be used to conduct a game in an attempt to increase the number of times the building may be used for bingo purposes.

(9) The organization shall keep and maintain financial records relating to the game in accordance with rules and regulations and have the records available for inspection upon demand.

(10) Payment of a prize in excess of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) shall be made by check.

(11) "Winner-take-all " games are prohibited, with the exception that each organization shall be permitted to play one optional "winner-take-all" game per night.

(12) No person under the age of eighteen (18) years shall be permitted to play the game.

(13) Notwithstanding any regulation to the contrary, any approved charitable organization conducting a lawful game of bingo pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be permitted to advertise their game in print media. As used in this chapter, "advertise" means an advertisement or announcement in print media containing the date, time, and place of the game, the charitable organization sponsoring and/or benefiting from the game, whether the game shall provide for a bonus building/prize pool, and the total amount of the prize pool as set forth in subdivision (14) of this section.

(14) The game may provide for a bonus building/prize pool which would start at five hundred dollars ($500) and increase at one hundred dollar ($100) increments each week until it reaches a maximum amount of one thousand dollars ($1000).

(15) Game workers may be compensated with a non-monetary gift, valued at not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per quarter and/or a total of one hundred dollars ($100) per year. Beverages and food provided without charge to volunteer workers at the game of bingo shall not be considered to be compensation for purposes of the subsection.

11-19-32.1. Senior citizens housing--Bingo allowed

 Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, any organization of senior citizens may promote, carry on or conduct within their own senior citizens housing project, a bingo game, with total daily prizes not to exceed four hundred dollars ($400). The game shall be for recreational purposes and shall be open only to senior citizens who are residents of the housing project where the game is held and their guests. Bingo games shall be limited to three (3) days per calendar week and shall be operated and managed solely by residents of the housing projects. Admission to a bingo game shall only be by admission ticket which may be purchased only by a resident. Each resident shall be allowed to purchase one ticket for a guest. The guest ticket must clearly indicate that the holder is a guest and must be purchased at least three (3) hours prior to the start of the bingo game.


11-19-33. Bingo games--Announcement of prizes

Prior to each drawing or contest conducted in any game of "bingo" or "beano" as provided in this chapter, the sponsor shall announce or cause to be announced openly and clearly, so as to provide the participants with a clear understanding of the amount to be paid as a prize for each individual drawing or contest in any game of "bingo" or "beano" as provided in this chapter.

11-19-34. Use of name of charitable organization to conduct permitted games of chance

A charitable organization, within the provisions of 11-19-30 or 11-19-31, shall not allow or permit any individual, partnership, corporation, or any other entity to utilize the name of the charitable organization for the purpose of conducting or promoting bingo or other permitted games of chance.

11-19-34.1. Senior citizens housing--Raffles allowed

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, any organization of senior citizens may promote, carry on, or conduct within their own senior citizens housing project, a lottery, commonly known as a raffle, with total prizes not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500). Raffles shall be for recreational purposes and shall be open only to senior citizens who are residents of the housing project where the game is held. Raffles shall be limited to three (3) times per year and shall be operated and managed solely by residents of the housing projects.

11-19-35. Pull-tab lottery tickets

(a) The Rhode Island lottery commission is empowered to sell and regulate the sale of pull-tab lottery tickets to religious, fraternal, civic, educational, veterans', or charitable organizations. The commission shall determine, consistent with this section, those organizations that are authorized to sell pull-tab lottery tickets and shall insure that the pull tab lottery tickets to be distributed are secured for the purposes under which they are to be sold in terms of concealing the result of the tickets until the time that they are sold to the general public. Consistent with this section, those organizations authorized to sell the tickets are authorized to retain net profits as shall have been provided for by the commission.

(b) Notwithstanding any other section of the general laws to the contrary, pull-tab lottery tickets authorized by this section are declared to be legal.

11-19-36. Organizations permitted to conduct other permitted games of chance

Any charitable organization may promote, carry on, or conduct any permitted game of chance authorized by the division of state police in connection with which prizes or prize monies are offered or awarded, provided as follows:

(1) The game is conducted by members of the organization.

(2) No person in the actual or constructive management and control of the game receives any compensation for services connected to the game.

(3) The entire net receipts of the game, including the charges for admission to and participation in the game, are applied solely to the bona fide charitable purposes of the organization.

(4) That the organization is granted a license issued pursuant to the provisions of 11-19-37.

(5) That the provisions of this section shall not apply to that lottery commonly known as a "twenty-week club" or a raffle conducted by a charitable organization.

11-19-37. Issuance of licenses
(a) Any charitable organization within the provisions of 11-19-30 and/or 11-19-31 may be granted a license to conduct the game of bingo or other permitted game of chance authorized by the department.

(b) Bingo. A license for the game of bingo shall be obtained as follows:
(1) The charitable organization shall annually apply for approval to the department pursuant to 11-19-31 and shall pay to the department an application fee of five dollars ($5.00).
(2) Upon the receipt of notification of approval from the department, the charitable organization shall apply to the local licensing authorities upon forms furnished and pay the local licensing fee, if any;
(3) The local licensing authority shall issue the license. A copy of the license shall be forwarded to the department by the local licensing authority;
(4) The local licensing authority shall issue the license for a specific date or dates or a specific day or days during each calendar week;
(5) Within seven (7) calendar days of the completion of every game of bingo, the charitable organization shall file a financial report, upon forms furnished by the department with the department and with the local licensing authority if it so requires.

(c) Other permitted games of chance
(1) The charitable organization shall apply for approval to the department pursuant to this section and shall pay to the department an application fee of five dollars ($5.00).
(2) Upon the receipt of a notification of approval from the department, the charitable organization shall apply to the local licensing authority upon forms furnished by the department and pay the local licensing fee, if any;
(3) The local licensing authority shall issue the license. A copy of the license shall be forwarded to the department by the local licensing authority;
(4) The local licensing authority shall issue the license for a specific date or specific day or days;
(5) The application for the local license shall be made at least thirty (30) days prior to the date or day for which the license is issued;
(6) Within thirty (30) calendar days of the completion of the permitted game of chance, the charitable organization shall file a financial report upon forms furnished by the department, with the department.


11-19-38. Change of information

If, subsequent to approval by the department pursuant to 11-19-31, there is a change in any information furnished by the organization to the department, the organization shall so inform the department within seven (7) days of the change. Failure to inform the department within seven (7) days will result in the automatic suspension of approval for a period of three (3) months.

11-19-39. Enforcement and penalties

(a) If any charitable organization fails to file any registration application or statement, report, or other information required to be filed by the department under this chapter, or otherwise violates the provisions of this chapter, the department shall notify the delinquent charitable organization, by mailing a notice, certified mail, with return receipt requested, to its last known address. If the required registration application or statement, annual report, or other information is not filed or if the existing violation is not discontinued within ten (10) days after the formal notification or receipt of the notice, the department may cancel, suspend the registration, or refuse to accept a delinquent report from the charitable organization.

(b) The department, upon its own motion or upon complaint of any person, may, if it has reasonable ground to suspect a violation, investigate any charitable organization, to determine whether it has violated the provisions of this chapter or has filed any application or other information required under this chapter which contains false or misleading statements. If the department finds that any application or other information contains false or misleading statements, or that a registrant under this chapter has violated its provisions, the registration may be suspended or cancelled. Any person whose registration is suspended or cancelled may, within fifteen (15) days from the date of written notification of the suspension or cancellation request in writing, a hearing before the department. This hearing shall be held within thirty (30) days from the date of the request. Any person who has exhausted all administrative remedies available within the department in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act (chapter 35 of title 42), and who is aggrieved by a final decision of the department, is entitled to judicial review in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act (chapter 35 of title 42).

(c) The certificate of approval of any charitable organization which knowingly makes a false or misleading statement in any registration application or statement, report, or other information required to be filed by the department or this chapter shall be revoked.

(d) Any person who willfully and knowingly violates any provisions of this chapter, or who shall willfully and knowingly give false or incorrect information to the department in filing statements or reports required by this chapter, whether the report or statement is verified or not, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, that person shall be sentenced for the first offense to pay a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or undergo imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. For the second and any subsequent offense, that person shall pay a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or undergo imprisonment for not more than five (5) years, or both.

(e) Whenever the attorney general shall have reason to believe or the attorney general has been advised by the director (who shall have given due notice and full hearing to the charitable organization) that the charitable organization: (1) is operating in violation of the provision of this chapter; (2) has knowingly and willfully made any false statements in any initial or any renewal application or in any other information required to be filed by this chapter; (3) has failed to file a registration statement required by this chapter; (4) there is employed or is about to be employed by a charitable organization any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud or to obtain money or property by means of any false pretense, representation, or promise; (5) the officers or representatives of any charitable organization failed after notice to produce any records of the organization; or (6) the funds raised by the game are not devoted or will not be devoted to the charitable purposes of the charitable organization; in addition to all other actions authorized by law, the attorney general of the state of Rhode Island may bring an action in the name of the state of Rhode Island against the charitable organization and its officers, or any other person who has violated this chapter to enjoin that charitable organization or person from continuing the violation or doing any acts in furtherance of it, and for any other relief that the court deems appropriate. The court may make any additional orders and/or judgments that may be necessary to restore to any person in interest any monies or property, real or personal, which may have been acquired by means of any practice in this chapter declared to be unlawful. The department may refuse to grant an initial application to conduct a game, may refuse to renew an application, and may revoke a registration of any charitable organization which knowingly makes a false statement in any initial registration application or renewal application or statement, annual report, or other information required to be filed by the department or the chapter .

11-19-40. Rules and regulations

(a) The director shall adopt and issue rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of 11-19-30--11-19-40. These rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with chapter 35 of title 42.

(b) In promulgating the rules and regulations, the director shall, in addition to the standards set forth in other provisions of this chapter, be guided by the following standards setting forth conduct, conditions, and activity deemed undesirable:

(1) Fraud. The practice of any fraud or deception upon a participant in a permitted game of chance;

(2) Unsafe premises. The conduct of permitted games of chance in, at or upon premises which may be unsafe due to fire hazard or other conditions;

(3) Charitable funds. To assure that all the funds raised through bingo and permitted charitable games are maintained and expended for bona fide charitable purposes;

(4) Advertising. That advertising for all permitted games of chance and bingo is conducted in accordance with rules and regulations.

(c) The director may promulgate less stringent regulations for those charitable organizations that do not intend to run any permitted games more than once in any consecutive six (6) month period, and also for those charitable organizations where the prize for any permitted game will not exceed three hundred dollars ($300).

11-19-41. Police regulation of bingo and permitted games of chance

The division of state police shall have the power and authority to license, regulate, supervise and exercise general control over the operation of bingo and permitted games of chance including, but not limited to, the conduct of permitted games of chance, the distribution of prizes, and the use and licensing of equipment specifically designed to be utilized to conduct bingo and permitted games of chance, as well as the licensing of persons, firms, corporations in the business of the sale and rental of equipment concerning bingo and permitted games of chance. The Rhode Island state police shall have the power and authority to investigate as to the direct or indirect ownership or control of any licenses and to revoke or suspend any license for just cause after a hearing.

11-19-42. Forfeiture of charter rights and privileges

(a) Upon conviction for a violation of this chapter or upon revocation of a certificate of approval, the attorney general may apply to the superior court:

(1) For the forfeiture of any charter rights, franchise privileges or powers of the corporation held by the convicted person under the laws of this state;

(2) For dissolution, if the person is a corporation or limited partnership organized under the laws of this state; or

(3) For the suspension of the privilege to exist within this state.

(b) The court, after giving due consideration to the public interest and to relevant competitive and economic circumstances, may grant as much of the requested relief as is deemed appropriate. A dissolution shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures specified by law for either voluntary or judicial dissolution of the particular type of corporation, association, firm, or partnership.

(c) If any corporation, association, partnership, or limited partnership shall be dissolved or have its privilege to exist in this state suspended or revoked as provided in subsection (a) of this section, no assignee, transferee, or successor-in-interest of the corporation, association, partnership, or limited partnership shall be permitted to incorporate or to transact business in this state without first applying to the court for and receiving an order permitting incorporation or transaction of business. No order shall be granted unless the applicant proves to the satisfaction of the court that it will conduct its affairs in accordance with all applicable laws.

11-19-43. Acts of officers, directors, representatives, or agents acting within the scope of their authority

(a) A corporation, association, firm, partnership, or limited partnership is liable for the acts of its officers, directors, representatives, or agents acting within the scope of their authority. Proof of the acts of any officer, director, representative, or agent shall be received as prima facie proof of the acts of the corporation, association, firm, partnership, or limited partnership itself.

(b) When a corporation, association, firm, partnership, or limited partnership violates this chapter, the violation shall be deemed to be that of the individual directors, members, officers, managers, employees, or agents of the corporation, association, firm, partnership, or limited partnership who knowingly authorized, ordered, aided, abetted, or advised in the acts or omissions constituting in whole or in part the violation, whether the individuals acted on their own behalf and for their own benefit, or for the corporation, association, firm, partnership, or limited partnership and in their representative capacity. The individuals, in their capacity as individuals, are subject to the provisions of this chapter and may be joined, if subject to personal jurisdiction, as additional parties defendant in the proceedings against the corporation, association, partnership, or limited partnership.

11-19-44. Remedies cumulative

The remedies provided in this chapter are cumulative of each other and of existing powers and remedies inherent in the court.

11-19-45. Severability

If any section of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of the chapter and the application of the section to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected. The invalidity or unconstitutionality of any section or sections or part of any section or sections of this chapter shall not affect the validity of the remainder of this chapter and to this end the sections of this chapter are severable.