Texas Politics

Should TMS and PGA tournaments have raffles? Texans vote on it, starting Monday

Signs offering fans the chance to “Take Home Half the Jackpot” are carried around at home games for the Texas Rangers, giving fans a chance to buy raffle tickets from their seats.
Signs offering fans the chance to “Take Home Half the Jackpot” are carried around at home games for the Texas Rangers, giving fans a chance to buy raffle tickets from their seats. atinsley@star-telegram.com

Imagine heading to a PGA golf tournament at Colonial or a Texas Motor Speedway race, going home with a fistful of cash and helping out a charity at the same time.

Lucky fans at Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys home games who risk a few dollars on a 50-50 charitable raffle ticket already do.

Local golf and race fans could see the same benefits — but only if Texas voters agree to change the Texas Constitution to let more sporting events host raffles where one winner claims half the jackpot and the other half goes to a local charity.

Early voting starts Monday and runs through Nov. 3, giving Texans a chance to weigh in on seven constitutional amendments, including the raffle item, and a slew of other issues.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Rob Ramage, general counsel at the Texas Motor Speedway, which works with Speedway Children’s Charities to help North Texas youth. “Anything and everything we can do to help more children, and give more money to these causes, we want to be at the forefront.”

TMS plans to launch a social media campaign and will ask those who attend NASCAR events before the election to support Proposition 5 on the Nov. 7 ballot.

The raffles have generated more than $6 million in raffle sales for 10 professional sports teams in Texas. Nearly 70 percent of voters approved making these raffles legal in 2015.

State lawmakers now are asking Texans to allow more sporting events — from NASCAR and PGA events to minor league baseball and National Women’s Soccer League events — to do the same thing.

“Everybody here is a Texan, like I am,” said state Rep. John Kuempel, R-Seguin. “I obviously support charities. And I’m a huge sports fan.

“Couple those together, and give people a chance to support a team and a charity. That’s what (these raffles) do.”

Big bucks

Last year, more than $6.4 million was raised during 50-50 raffles in Texas.

Half of that went to lucky sports fans and the other half helped with everything from food banks and youth groups to victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, according to a survey conducted by the Star-Telegram.

The Star-Telegram reached out to the pro sports teams allowed to hold raffles to see how the first two years went. Here’s what we found:

Dallas Cowboys: America’s team sold $695,000 of raffle tickets last year and $206,000 in the first four games of this season. Half of that has gone to the Salvation Army, which works to help Texans with disaster relief, youth education, youth sports and more.

“The 50-50 raffle has been very well received by our fans, and continues to grow in participation and popularity,” according to a statement from Charlotte Jones Anderson, executive vice president and chief brand officer for the Dallas Cowboys.

The highest jackpot so far this season — $97,200 — came during the home opener against the New York Giants. The prize winner and Salvation Army each received a check for $48,600.

Texas Rangers: The hometown baseball team sold more than $1.5 million in charitable raffle tickets this year and more than $1 million last year during the regular season, plus another $78,340 in the postseason.

This year, raffle proceeds from three games went to Hurricane Harvey Relief, from two games went to Hurricane Maria relief and from three games went to the Do It for Durrett Foundation. The rest of the raffle proceeds went to the Rangers Foundation, to help with efforts such as building the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at the Mercy Street Sports Complex, said Karin Morris, executive director of the foundation.

“Our fans have engaged with this raffle so quickly in two years and we are so honored that they participate and support the Rangers Foundation in such a big way,” she said.

Houston Astros: The baseball team more than 250 miles southeast of the DFW Metroplex sold about $900,000 in tickets last year and more than $1.6 million this year. This doesn’t include money raised during September, which went directly to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Other Astros beneficiaries include the Houston Food Bank, Greater Houston YMCA, Houston Police Foundation, American Red Cross and Crime Stoppers, team officials said.

More raffles

Baseball and football fans aren’t the only ones buying 50-50 raffle tickets. Ice hockey, basketball and soccer fans are also getting into the act.

The Dallas Stars sold $335,920 in raffle tickets last season, benefiting fans and the Dallas Stars Foundation’s Community Grant Program, which donates money to local nonprofits. This year, team leaders designated the first three preseason home games to benefit the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

The Dallas Mavericks sold more than $222,000 in tickets since the raffles became legal. Half of the proceeds went to the Mavs Foundation, which grants money to local charities such as homeless shelters and after-school programs.

And the FC Dallas Foundation last year raised $23,000 — half which went to winners and half to charity — during 15 regular-season matches and one playoff.

“Our numbers have not been where we want them this season; however, we are making changes in our sales training and messaging for 2018 to change this,” said Melissa Reddick, executive director of the FC Dallas Foundation who manages the 50-50 raffle at Toyota Stadium.

The Houston Texans, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Dynamo have not yet started 50-50 raffles. The Houston Rockets didn’t respond to requests.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley


Texas Constitutional Amendments

Here’s a look at the constitutional amendments on the Nov. 7 ballot:

Proposition 1: Partially disabled veterans, or their spouses, could get a partial homestead exemption for homes donated to them if they pay some amount for the home.

Proposition 2: Home equity rules would change and restrictions on borrowing against it would ease. Some protections would also go away.

Proposition 3: Gubernatorial appointees would face new term limits. Appointees now serve after their term expires until the governor names a new appointee. This measure sets deadlines, saying appointees can only serve until the last day of the regular session of the Legislature that begins after their term ends.

Proposition 4: Would require courts to let the state attorney general know when there is a constitutional challenge to a state statute or law.

Proposition 5: This expands the definition of a “professional sports team,” which would allow more sports organizations — such as the PGA, Texas Motor Speedway and minor league professional sports teams — to hold the 50-50 charitable raffles.

Proposition 6: Surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty would receive property tax exemptions.

Proposition 7: Would let banks and credit unions hold promotions such as raffles to encourage customers to save their money.

Early voting

Early voting for the Nov. 7 election runs from Monday, Oct. 23, to Friday, Nov. 3.

Early votes may be cast in person 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Friday; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday; 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 30-Nov. 1; and 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 2 and 3.

Tarrant County Elections Administration, 2700 Premier St., Fort Worth, is the main early voting site. Emergency and limited ballots are available there. For more information, call 817-831-8683.

Other sites:

All Saints Catholic Church Parish Hall, 200 N.W. 20th St.

Arlington Subcourthouse, 700 E. Abram St.

Asia Times Square, 2615 W. Pioneer Parkway, Grand Prairie

Bedford Public Library, 2424 Forest Ridge Drive

Benbrook Community Center, 228 San Angelo Ave.

B.J. Clark Annex, Room 4, 603 Southeast Parkway, Azle

Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center St., Arlington

Center for Community Service Junior League of Arlington, 4002 W. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington

Colleyville City Hall, 100 Main St.

Crowley Recreation Center, 405 S. Oak Street

Dan Echols Center, 6801 Glenview Drive, North Richland Hills

Diamond Hill/Jarvis Branch Library, 1300 N.E. 35th St., Fort Worth

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school district Administration Building 6, Training Room, 1200 Old Decatur Road, Saginaw

Euless Public Library, 201 N. Ector Drive

Elzie Odom Athletic Center, 1601 N.E. Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington

Forest Hill Civic and Convention Center, 6901 Wichita St., Forest Hill

Fort Worth ISD Professional Development Center, Room 107, 3150 McCart Ave.

The REC of Grapevine, 1175 Municipal Way

Griffin Subcourthouse, 3212 Miller Ave., Fort Worth

Haltom City Northeast Center, 3201 Friendly Lane

Handley/Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty St., Fort Worth

Hurst Recreation Center, 700 Mary Drive

JPS Health Center Viola M. Pitts/Como, Lower Level, Suite 100, 4701 Bryant Irvin Road N.

Keller Town Hall, 1100 Bear Creek Parkway

Kennedale Community Center, 316 W. Third St.

Lake Park Operations Center, 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, Grand Prairie

Longhorn Activity Center, 5350 Basswood Blvd., Fort Worth

Mansfield Subcourthouse, 1100 E. Broad St.

Northeast Courthouse, 645 Grapevine Highway, Hurst

Richland Hills Public Library, 6724 Rena Drive, Richland Hills

Rosemont Middle School, 1501 W. Seminary Drive, Fort Worth

Sheriff's Office North Patrol Division, 6651 Lake Worth Blvd., Lake Worth

Southlake Town Hall, 1400 Main St.

South Service Center, 1100 SW Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington

Southside Community Center, 959 E. Rosedale St., Fort Worth

Southwest Community Center, 6300 Welch Ave.

Southwest Regional Library, 4001 Library Lane

Tanglewood Elementary School, Portable Building Room 310, 3060 Overton Park Drive W.

Tarrant County College Southeast Campus, EMB- C Portable Building, 2100 Southeast Parkway, Arlington

Tarrant County Plaza Building, 201 Burnett St.

Villages of Woodland Springs Amenity Center, 12209 Timberland Blvd., Fort Worth

White Settlement Public Library, 8215 White Settlement Road

Worth Heights Community Center, 3551 New York Ave., Fort Worth

Source: Tarrant County Elections Office