Pa. volunteer fire companies rally for virtual raffle bill, gain support in the House

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Volunteer fire companies and other non-profits throughout the state hope Pa. lawmakers will let them raise money online in the short term.

They rallied on Monday at the state Capitol in Harrisburg for legislation that would let them hold raffles and other small games of chance virtually.

Fire companies greatly rely on the income from these fundraisers, but because of the pandemic, they were unable to do so in person.

Some fire companies throughout Pa. that held online raffles in 2020 were told to shut them down. The bill they’re supporting would change that, at least during the pandemic.

“When COVID hit and everything got shut down, we lost our fundraisers. No chicken BBQ, no bingo, you know, any of the normal fundraisers that we do got shut down by following the guidelines and restrictions of COVID,” said Marcus Riddell, of Tower City Fire Co., and chair of Non-profits for Online Raffles.

The bill overwhelmingly passed in the state House of Representatives and is now in the state Senate.

Supporters of the bill say their biggest opponents are casinos.

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