The Buffalo Sabres have used their political clout to earn a legislative victory.
The Sabres were among the lead advocates seeking to change New York gaming laws, and the drive worked. A measure sponsored by State Sen. Pat Gallivan and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger allows nonprofit organizations in New York State to accept credit cards for the purchase of raffle tickets. It was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in December.
Fans noticed the change starting with Saturday's home game against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Sabres accepted credit and debit cards for the 50/50 raffle that benefits the team's foundation.
"The Charitable Gaming Act of 2017 will not only allow us to raise more dollars for Western New York charities, but it also addresses a customer service issue, as our growing number of fans who rely on electronic forms of payment will now be able to participate in our 50/50 raffle,” said Rich Jureller, president of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation. “We are truly grateful for the efforts of Pat and Robin in getting this initiative enacted. We are very optimistic that the new law will allow us better serve the charities we support."
The Sabres also anticipate expanding the raffle to include online sales. It would allow fans in Western New York to participate without being at the game, a provision that was approved as part of the new legislation. The foundation also plans to introduce online raffles of team experiences, memorabilia and equipment next season.
"Charitable organizations like the Buffalo Sabres Foundation provide critical proceeds for programs and services throughout the community," said Gallivan. “Many people are anxious to support these groups through the purchase of raffle tickets, but they want to be able to pay with a credit or debit card. The new law not only expands the payment options to keep up with technology, it allows these organizations to more efficiently raise funds that benefit residents.”
Added Schimminger: “People predominately pay with debit and credit cards, and this change in the law we’ve enacted will allow them to do that. Additionally, many people use their phones to purchase tickets and items or services of various kinds. Changing to a digital friendly format will facilitate a much smoother and easier way for the Sabres Foundation and other charitable organizations to raise funds for the important causes they support.”