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Regulators let youths under 18 take part in charitable lotteries

Youths under the age of 18 will be able to participate in fundraising lotteries as long as winners of events aren’t awarded cash prizes, the Nevada Gaming Commission agreed recently.

In a unanimous vote, commissioners adopted amendments to regulations governing charitable lotteries and games as required in legislation signed into law in May.

Enabling youths to participate turned into a contentious issue as regulators crafted the new rules. In initial drafts, several organizations were concerned that a broad interpretation of the rules would prohibit youths from selling tickets for fundraisers or otherwise participating in programs developed by sponsoring organizations.

Organizations including Ducks Unlimited, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation were concerned that the regulation could have affected their youth conservation programs because the regulation’s wording prohibited persons under the age of 18 from “entering, purchasing tickets for entry into, collecting winnings from or participating in the administration of … any charitable lottery.”

Commissioners struck a compromise by prohibiting youth participation in charitable lottery events only if a cash prize would be presented.

The new regulations also spell out how organizations must register to conduct a lottery, how they would limit sales to individuals within Nevada and how they would verify nonparticipation of persons 18 and under.

The regulation also prohibits persons under 21 from participating in “charitable games,” events involving playing blackjack, poker or bingo.

Representatives of the National Center for Responsible Gaming did not object to establishing an age limit of 18 for charitable lotteries but advised regulators not to set it any lower because of concerns about problem gambling.

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