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Washington County Gaming Office director wants to increase vendor fees for tip jars

Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham suggested soliciting and accepting applications for gaming funds in electronic format only

April 05, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • The director of the Washington County Gaming Office is proposing to make up for declining gaming revenue by upping the fee paid by vendors from $1.25 to $2 per tip jar. The increase would not affect fire and rescue companies, which do not have to pay the "sticker fee" charged by the gaming office to help cover the cost of administering the charitable gaming program.
Herald-Mail file photo

The director of the Washington County Gaming Office is proposing to make up for declining gaming revenue by upping the fee paid by vendors from $1.25 to $2 per tip jar.

The increase would not affect fire and rescue companies, which do not have to pay the "sticker fee" charged by the gaming office to help cover the cost of administering the charitable gaming program.

The program was set up to be self-supporting, but revenues have declined steadily for the past three years, gaming office Director James B. Hovis told the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday.

"This is the first time since 1995, since the inception of the (gaming) program, that we are facing a deficit in the administration of the program," Hovis said.

Hovis said the $2 per jar fee was small compared to profits collected by vendors.

The two most popular sizes of tip jars are a "Club Jar" and a "Mini Jar," which provide $100 and $200 in profit to the vendor, respectively, Hovis said.

Tip jars are a form of paper gambling that involves peel-off tickets with numbers.

Hovis said the gaming office had already cut back to a bare-bones budget, but Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham suggested cutting back on paper, ink and mailing costs by soliciting and accepting applications for gaming funds in electronic format only.

The Washington County Gaming Commission awards gaming revenue to charitable organizations each year after reviewing applications for the funds.

The application instruction form requires applicants to submit their requests in binders with labeled dividers and to submit between four and eight copies depending on the amount of funding requested.

Hovis said some gaming commission members prefer to review the applications at home and that not everyone is comfortable reading the material on a computer.

Callaham urged him to pursue an electronic application anyway.

"To the gentleman who stood in front of me at the mall, with passion in his voice, and said, 'Quit wasting my money,' would we tell that gentleman, 'I'm sorry, we have to waste your money because someone who we appointed to the gaming board cannot learn to use a computer, and they cannot come into the office to work'?" Callaham asked.

Applications for this year's gaming fund distribution are due May 5.

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