Medford changes to bingo and raffle license application process

Organizations holding bingos and raffles in Medford will see their applications approved quicker as the township has eliminated a big step in the review process.

Bingo and raffles licenses will no longer go before council for final approval. Instead, approval will be put into the hands of township staff. The clerk’s office will give final approval of licenses.

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“This is just a way to speed up the process for organizations,” township clerk Katherine Burger said.

State laws require any organizations hosting a bingo or raffle to fill out a form and hand it to the municipality where the event is being hosted. The municipality then has to approve the license. After the license is approved, the application is forwarded to the state Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission for review.

New Jersey law dictates a mandatory review period of 15 business days. Organizations are not issued a license for their bingo or raffle until the review period is up.

The old township ordinance required council to approve the licenses, and applications had to wait until the next meeting for approval. This led to applications potentially dragging out for more than a month.

Burger said this caught many organizations off-guard, as they are unable to get their licenses approved within a proper time.

Township manager Chris Schultz said the new ordinance is similar to one already used in Westampton, eliminating council’s approval of the licenses.

“This ordinance will allow the staff to process them and (Burger) will approve them,” Schultz said.

In place of having council approve licenses, Burger will report to council a list of approved licenses since the last meeting. The only time council will be involved with the process is if there is any issue with an application.

The new procedure will only apply to raffles and bingos. Council will still need to approve applications involving other events, such as Chinese or silent auctions.

Even with the new Medford procedure regarding application, organizations are still encouraged to file their applications well in advance of their event. Burger said the state’s gaming commission has not helped speed up the process.

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