New reporting requirements associated with increased prize limits for small games of chance have been delayed one year as Pennsylvania leaders examine whether the record-keeping would be burdensome on local clubs and organizations that rely on these types of fundraising efforts.

The required date for small games of chance licensees to file their first report has been changed from Feb. 1, 2013, to Feb. 1, 2014.

However, accountability in the conduct of these games still remains a critical element going forward and local organizations are still urged to continue maintaining records accordingly and preparing for future reporting.

This delay only applies to the requirement for small games of chance licensees to submit the annual and semi-annual report to Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, and does not relieve them of the statutory requirements to maintain other records as established in Act 2 and Act 184 of 2012.

Over the past few months, I've listened to groups like the volunteer firefighters and the VFWs, and I held a local small games of chance seminar for officials to answer questions from local organizations regarding the new updates to the law. The overall resounding response I gathered from individuals representing these organizations was that updates to the law have created too much confusion over what is allowable and how the law is being enforced.

Beginning Feb. 1, 2014, eligible organizations, which are non-club licensees with proceeds in excess of $2,500 in a year, must electronically file an annual report with the state Department of Revenue for the preceding calendar year.

Eligible organizations will be required to report, with respect to small games of chance, the number of W-2G forms issued; total gross winnings reported on W-2G form; gross revenue collected from small games of chance; total expenses associated with small games of chance; total prizes paid; proceeds and the amount of proceeds used for public interest purposes.

Similarly, club licensees, which are organizations with liquor licenses that hold licenses to conduct small games of chance, will also be required to electronically file semi-annual reports with the state Department of Revenue. These reports will be due Feb. 1, 2014 or the preceding six-month period beginning July 1, 2014 and ending Dec. 31, 2014; and Aug. 1, 2014, for the preceding six-month period beginning Jan. 1, 2014 and ending June 30, 2014.

Club licensees will also be required to report the number of W-2G forms issued; total gross winnings reported on W-2G forms; gross revenue collected for all games of chance, itemized by week and type of game; the total small games of chance expenses, itemized by week and type of game; the total prizes paid, itemized by week and type of game; proceeds, itemized by week and type of game, detailing the of proceeds used for public interest purposes and the amount of proceeds used for operational expenses.

All reports must be filed electronically at www.revenue.state.pa.us/SGOC, and the online filing application walks organizations, step-by-step, through reporting requirements and fields with detailed instruction. There are no paper forms available to file small games of chance annual and/or semi-annual reports. Because small games of chance benefit many nonprofit organizations across Carbon County and the entire Commonwealth, I voted in favor of legislation, now Act 184 of 2012, that passed through the House in October to further update Pennsylvania's Local Option Small Games of Chance Act to provide for increased prize limits and raffles for games that were not included in Act 2 of 2012. I've held numerous conversations with local organizations that use these small games of chance to fill some of the gaps in funding and took their feedback when I voted in support of this legislation. Act 184 amends the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act to include 50/50 raffles under small games of chance, as well as increases the prize limits offered by these nonprofit organizations. Until Act 2, payouts for small games of chance had not increased since 1988, and many volunteer firefighting and other local civic organizations are struggling to make ends meet as a result. Expanding the prize limits and allowing them to keep a portion of the proceeds would help them raise money and pay general operating expenses.

This law also exempts nonprofits earning less than $2,500 through small games of change from submitting an annual report. For more information regarding updates to the small games of chance laws, visit my website at www.RepHeffley.com ..