Profits from small games of chance keep local American Legion posts and VFWs in the black, but some are now seeing red over a state law that would take a larger share of the money.
The small games of chance were used to help pay some bills at non-profit organizations. A bill passed earlier this year will make the clubs donate 70 percent of the funds to charity. It's money they say could be used to keep the doors open.
"Whereever that money is needed, that's where it goes to keep the club open," said Norm Krobath, president or the West End veterans Association and person over the games at the American Legion 576.
They are called small games of chance, and under state law, certain organizations can have them in their establishment.
"We are talking about non-profit organizations, charitable organizations, veterans organizations, senior citizens to allow them to conduct what are essentially gambling activities for the purposes of raising funds for a public interest," said John Morganelli, Northampton County district attorney.
Many using the games said they feel the prizes could be higher. Legislators in Harrisburg agreed but made a provision that 70 percent of earnings be donated to charity and 30 percent to the club. The law will take effect Jan. 1, 2013.
"We're not getting money from the state to run this," said Krobath. "We make our own money here. We don't get any money from the state or government."
"Some organizations don't understand that this legislation was not designed to basically give them revenue to operate," added Morganelli.
Organizations like the VFW and American Legion said the money is needed. The only other way they make money is through memberships, and those are down.
"It costs a lot of money to run a club like this, and if you don't have the people supporting the club, well then you're in trouble," said Allen Meckes, quartermaster of VFW Post 7293.
"We're not getting many new members," added Krobath. "We're getting transfers for other clubs that are closing."
Some at clubs are now hoping they will convince lawmakers to repeal the law in Harrisburg. Until then, many accountants will try to see if they can make ends meet.