MADISON, Wis. (AP) — For the second time in just over a year, Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed a bill that would have allowed raffles using a paddlewheel device.
Evers, in his veto message Friday, said that the type of gambling allowed under the bill was not permitted under the Wisconsin Constitution. He vetoed it in March 2020 as well.
The measure, which passed the Legislature with bipartisan support, would have allowed anyone with a Class B gambling license to conduct a raffle using a paddlewheel. Such devices are often used at meat raffles to award winners, even though the devices are currently illegal.
Evers said in his veto message that paddlewheel raffles are essentially the same as roulette, which is not allowed under the constitution. Evers also said that expanding raffles as proposed could threaten exclusive Class III gambling rights given to the state’s Native American tribes.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Andre Jacque, called for the Legislature to override the veto, saying it hurt charities that use paddlewheel raffles to raise money, even though the law does not specifically make them legal. Jacque brought the bill because the state Department of Justice has warned groups using the raffles they could be charged with a felony.
“I do not understand why Gov. Evers has it in for these groups,” Jacque said in a statement. “Surely the Governor has better things to do than making charity fundraising a crime.”
Two-thirds of the Senate and Assembly would have to vote to override the veto. The bill passed on a voice vote in the Senate and with 61 votes in the Assembly, five short of what would be needed to override the veto.
Last year, after Evers vetoed the bill that had passed unanimously, he could not give a reason for his action when asked by a reporter.