State says house raffle legally operated

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

A house raffle that has been extended several times is being operated legally, according to the state Office of Charitable

Gaming.

Shiloh Baptist Church — through its

Project Community Care program — began a raffle for a $246,000 house in

Oak Park in September

2011, with the original drawing date set for Jan. 14. The drawing

date has been extended twice — first to Aug. 31 and then

to Sept. 7, 2013.

Several calls have been made to the American Press asking if the outreach program’s raffle is legal and if the organization had to refund the money.

Michael Legendre, director of the state

Office of Charitable Gaming, said it is legal for the date to be

extended for the

raffle because the agency was notified of the extension. But, he

said, if ticket-holders request a refund, the group is required

by law to refund the money.

Barry Thomas, church pastor, said the organization has had “four or five” people ask for refunds, which were given.

He said the dates were extended due to low ticket sales but that he is confident the September 2013 date will hold firm.

Legendre said that if a refund is refused, a complaint can be filed with the Office of Charitable Gaming.

Raffle tickets are being sold for $100, and Thomas said about 3,500 tickets have been sold. His goal is to sell 10,000 before

September.

Money raised from ticket sales are designated for local charities and organizations.

The house being raffled, at 1601 21st St., has a split floor plan — the master bedroom is on the opposite side of the house

from the other bedrooms — and features living and dining areas, a fireplace, patio, and a two-car garage.

Tickets will also be drawn for a second-place prize of $5,000 and a third-place prize of $2,500.

Tickets are available at Oasis Foods, 2222 Kirkman St.; Gulf Coast Carpet and Decorating, 550 Common St.; and Shiloh Baptist

Church, 3425 Fifth Ave. They can also be purchased by calling 570-9562.

Online: www.projectcommunitycare.org.