Soroptimists' lucky night
The Yuba-Sutter area's Soroptimist International organization hosted the first local casino night since Jan. 1 legislation that allows nonprofit agencies to hold such activities.
As a combination casino/comedy night, the event held Saturday night typically is the largest fundraiser of the year for the group, and co-chairwomen Jackie Sillman and Julie Eckardt were concerned last year when the Legislature attempted to put an end to the faux gambling events.
The issue with legislation arose in October 2005, when the state Department of Justice sent a letter to Noontime Kiwanis to halt its upcoming Monte Carlo Night. At the time, club officials said the organization had received a letter from someone in the Yuba-Sutter area complaining about the gambling events.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 839 into law with certain criteria for nonprofit organizations hosting the events for charity.
“Last year, we had to do a comedian, which was well-received, but we wanted to go back and add the casino element that people really seem to enjoy,” Sillman said Monday, following the event at the Bonanza Inn in Yuba City. “It went very well, and we sold out of tickets, I think, because of the casino part.”
Sillman said applying for permission through the Department of Justice was easier than expected. It took one phone call and, after a DOJ representative walked her through the steps to apply, she received the certificate in about three weeks. There was a $25 fee to apply.
“I think it definitely made for an event that attracted more types of individuals and really energized people and got them ready for a fabulous comedian to top off the evening,” Eckardt said. “We sold out and ended up with about 175 people at the event.”
Eckardt said the profits also showed a difference - $13,000 compared to $7,000 last year.
“So it's definitely much more profitable incorporating the casino; we were able to generate more revenue, more sponsors, and I think the people who bought tickets just got that more of a value because they got two events in one,” she said.
Kat Simmons, from Gardnerville, Nev., was the comedian for the evening. Also included in the event was a silent auction, the honoring of Wada King as Woman of Distinction, door prizes and the chance to win $500 cash.
“It went really, really well,” Sillman said. “We're so glad we're able to do this, even with some limitations. It's all in the name of charity, and that's what matters.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Kymm Mann can be reached at 749-4707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.