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MNCPA PERSPECTIVES

Auditors: You’re in luck

In-demand conference makes a comeback and offers growth opportunities for firms.

August 30, 2022  |  Kinzie Jensen

Auditors: You’re in luck It’s hard to imagine a Minnesota winter without a meat raffle at a family-owned bar, or a youth hockey team that doesn’t rely on proceeds generated from bingo night at a local pizzeria.

“Many people think of lawful gambling as the pull tabs they play or the raffle tickets they buy at their favorite local bar, restaurant, VFW or Legion Post,” said MNCPA Government Relations Director Geno Fragnito. “What people may not know is lawful gambling is a $4 billion dollar industry that supports many great programs throughout the state.” 

A $4 billion industry!

Minnesota generates more charitable gambling income than any other state, according to a recent Gambling Control Board (GCB) Gaming News issue.
And it’s complicated. There are rules, statutes and laws that outline:
  • How gaming operations must be conducted.
  • Who can play.
  • Prize limits and how winnings are paid out.
  • How gambling proceeds can be spent by the organization, and more.
Sometimes rules are broken unintentionally. And, unfortunately, intentional fraud is another issue in this sector. “It’s a cash business and there is fraud,” said Julie Richardson, CPA, an MNCPA member who has worked in this space for nearly a decade.

That’s where auditors come into the picture.

“Audits of lawful gambling play an important role to ensure the proceeds are accounted for and local programs are receiving the support the statutes provide for,” Fragnito said.

Plenty of opportunity for firms looking to step into this work

“Some of the larger firms aren’t performing these audits anymore, so there are big opportunities for smaller firms to learn this industry, build up their practice and generate more revenue,” Richardson said.

She noted that, especially for firms that slowdown in the summer, taking on charitable gambling audits is a way to maintain consistent work. But you have to understand lawful gambling because this industry is complex and highly regulated.

Enter: The MNCPA Audits of Lawful Gambling Conference.

After a long hiatus, this niche event is making a comeback on Sept. 29, 2022. Past attendees have been demanding its return, and auditors who are new to this industry will find a helpful entry point via this conference.

"I was thrown into lawful gambling audits with no knowledge, and this conference was very helpful in equipping me with what I needed to know,” said Richarson, who used to attend and is now speaking at the conference. “It’s a great way to break into the industry. A big takeaway for attendees is the sample financial statement they receive, which is essential. Since the financials are presented on the regulatory basis, the financial template is a great practice aid."

Last held in 2016, this conference looks a little different (it’s virtual, for example). But, as always, this event will:
  • Outline the best practices auditors need to know to succeed in this specialized area.
  • Break down recent developments and regulatory updates.
  • Provide attendees with useful templates and sample forms used on these audits.

A lot has changed since 2016

Case in point: technology.

"Electronic pull tabs have grown significantly since 2016 and the audits have needed to change as a result,” Fragnito said. “Another change is the requirement to submit audits to the Gambling Control Board. Prior to a statute change a few years ago the audits were only submitted to the Department of Revenue. Now both agencies receive a copy."

In their opening session, Geno and Julie will outline the lawful gambling audit legislative environment and the work being done to make these audits more relevant.

“I’m looking forward to sharing what has been happening at the Capitol related to these audits and what the MNCPA has done to help legislators understand why audits are important,” said Fragnito.

Other topics on the conference schedule include:
  • Gambling Control Board update from Laura Wade, GCB business manager and former interim executive director.
  • Minnesota Department of Revenue overview on filing requirements and the field audit process.
  • A local bingo fraud case study.
  • Lawful gambling audits best practices, complete with examples and templates for required documentation, such as the financial statement.
The MNCPA is excited to bring back this specialized event for both new and returning participants. It’s a sure bet: Attendees will come away with insights to support the important and valuable audit work they do for their clients.

Topics: Legislative & Government Affairs, Taxation-Individual, Regulation, Accounting & Auditing, Not-for-Profit, Taxation-Business

Kinzie Jensen

Kinzie Jensen is the MNCPA CPE marketing manager, working to ensure members know about the wide variety of CPE options available through the society. She spends her working hours writing and brainstorming ideas while quietly jamming out to the music of Steely Dan, The Avett Brothers, John Mayer, Genesis and The Black Keys. Kinzie lives in Eden Prairie with her husband and two daughters, and fills her free time with yoga, running and struggling to play the acoustic guitar. Her other obsessions include coffee, llamas, IPAs and sunshine. Kinzie can be reached at 952-885-5515 or kjensen@mncpa.org.

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