2003 RESOLUTION ON GAMES OF CHANCE
From Proceedings, Page 2003-26:
Whereas, at a regular meeting of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts on March 8, 1939 it was voted and RESOLVED that:
It is inconsistent with the profession and purposes of Freemasonry for any Masonic Body to promote, participate in, or profit by any lottery, game of chance, door prize, or other device or activity whereby the individual participant may be able, through the element of luck or chance, to win a greater value than he pays, and each Masonic Body within the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge is hereby enjoined to observe the letter and spirit of this Resolution; and it was further resolved that all so called collateral bodies, clubs or other organizations in Massachusetts whose membership is related to or dependent on Masonic membership, or which in the public mind are likely to be regarded as Masonic organizations, are requested and enjoined to respect the purpose of this Resolution.
Whereas, the aforementioned Resolution was born out of a long-standing tradition that gained acceptance as part of our Masonic culture through custom and not constitutional enactment, and
Whereas, lotteries, games of chance, door prizes, or other similar activity are not addressed, banned or forbidden under any provision of the Constitutions and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts A. F. & A. M., nor by any prohibiting language in our Declaration of Principles adopted March 8, 1939, nor the Massachusetts Manifesto of December 14, 1938, and
Whereas, sixty-three years have passed since the acceptance of the gaming Resolution and few remain today who voted adoption on March 8, 1939, and we have entered into a new millennium bringing with it a new society that has chosen to accept and legitimize gaming as a part of its developing culture, and
Whereas, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has since initiated state sponsored gaming to help support the needs of our cities and towns, and, in addition, has passed specific laws authorizing qualifying charitable institutions to conduct games of chance such as raffles and bazaars to help support their charitable purposes, and
Whereas, many of our Lodges and other Masonic bodies are economically challenged and have a serious need for additional funds to pay the ever increasing costs necessary to maintain their buildings and carry out their Masonic responsibilities to help, aid and assist needy brethren, and
Whereas, highly respected religious and charitable institutions, throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, regularly employ legalized raffles and Bazaars to help alleviate their economic dilemma.
Now, therefore, be it Resolved that the Resolution of this Grand Lodge adopted on March 8, 1939, be annulled and that the following resolution be adopted:
It is consistent with the Constitutions and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, our Declaration of Principles and the purposes of Masonry and the teachings of the fraternity to permit Masonic bodies to promote, participate in and profit from a raffle or bazaar as described in and in accord with the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 271, §7A, or similar games as described in and in accord with the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 10 §38, and in conformity with the requirements of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations Title 940, Chapters 12 & 13 and all other laws, rules and regulations, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Raffle Guidelines to be established by Grand Lodge.
It is further provided that no raffle, bazaar or other such activity shall be permitted by any Masonic Lodge under the Jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge without the written permission of the Grand Master; and it is further resolved that all so-called collateral bodies, clubs or other organizations in Massachusetts that conduct a raffle, bazaar or other such activity, whose membership is related to or dependent on Masonic Membership, or which in the public mind are likely to be regarded as Masonic Organizations, are requested and enjoined to respect the purpose of this Resolution and to comply with the laws, rules and regulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Raffle Guidelines to be established by Grand Lodge.
Respectfully submitted this Twelfth day of March, 2003.