Wisconsin Charitable Bingo Amendment, Question 1 (April 1973)

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The Wisconsin Charitable Bingo Amendment was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the April 3, 1973 ballot in Wisconsin, where it was approved.

This amendment modified Article IV, Section 24 of the Wisconsin Constitution to allow the legislature to legalize bingo games operated by certain charitable organizations.[1]

Election results

Question 1
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 645,544 62.25%
No391,49937.75%

Official results via: The Wisconsin Blue Book 1973

Text of measure

The language that appeared on the ballot:

"Shall section 24 of article IV of the constitution be amended to permit the legislature to authorize bingo games to be operated by religious, charitable, service, fraternal or veterans' organizations licensed by the state? (Note-The constitution presently provides that the legislature shall never authorize a lottery (a chance for a prize for a price). Therefore, bingo games conducted as a lottery are prohibited. A 'yes' vote on this amendment would permit the legislature to authorize religious, charitable, service, fraternal or veterans' organizations, and any organization to which contributions are deductible for state or federal income tax purposes, to operate state licensed bingo games. The amendment would also require that all profits accrue to the benefit of the licensed organization and that no salaries, fees or profits could be paid to any other organization or person.)"[1]

Note: The note above in the ballot text did not necessarily appear on the ballot.[2]


Constitutional changes

(Article IV) Section 24. The legislature shall never authorize any lottery, or grant any divorce, but may authorize bingo games licensed by the state, and operated by religious, charitable service, fraternal or veterans' organizations or those to which contributions are deductible for federal or state income tax purposes. All profits must inure to the licensed organization and no salaries, fees or profits shall be paid to any other organization or person. Except as the legislature may provide otherwise, to listen to or watch a television or radio program, to fill out a coupon or entry blank, whether or not proof of purchase is required, or to visit a mercantile establishment or other place without being required to make a purchase or pay an admittance fee does not constitute consideration as an element of a lottery.</u>[1]

Support

Supporters argued bingo was a harmless form of entertainment that could be controlled.[3]

Opposition

Opposition argued it would lead to further forms of gambling in the state, which would be followed by organized crime.[3]

Path to the ballot

  • First Legislative Approval: SJR 13 & JR 31 (1971)
  • Second Legislative Approval: AJR 6 & JR 3 (1973)[4]

See also

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