Irish Court Says Bingo Hall is Legal Operation

The ongoing saga of an Irish bingo hall that has been repeatedly harassed by authorities may finally be over. In November police raided the Rock Creek bingo hall in Cork Ireland just minutes before the hall was scheduled to open for the first time. Players watched in dismay as police seized documents and bingo tickets making the bingo games impossible. Many thought the timing of the raid was deliberate and calculated to do as much damage as possible. The hall was raided a second time and the owners of the hall took their case to the high court.

On New Year’s Day the police raided the hall for a second time. Players watched in dismay and anger as police seized documents. About 500 players had turned out for the hall’s grand opening. Local police superintendant Charles Barry seems to have a vendetta against the hall and Rock Creek’s owners say he is guilty of misfeasance of public office. The excuse used by Barry to conduct the raids was concerns over the validity of the hall’s license. An unnamed police source told reporters that there were concerns that the hall’s charitable beneficiary was not based in Cork. According to official records Rock Creek’s charitable partner is the Mercy University Hospital Foundation.

After a lengthy legal battle a judge ruled that Rock Creek is a legal bingo operation. Rock Creek Bingo operators Omega Leisure Ltd brought the case against superintendant Barry and sought a declaration that Barry was guilty of malfeasance in office. Unfortunately Justice Clarke rejected the owner’s application. Judge Clarke confirmed that that Rock Creek had a right to continue operations and that the licensing process was not illegal. In the licensing process charities can allow their lottery license to be used by operators for a percent of the proceeds generated by games. In his judgment Justice Clarke wrote that he “would expect Superintendent Barry to be as good as his word and […] allow Omega to operate in the ordinary way in accordance with the law.”

Rock Creek manager Dave Barber welcomed the court’s decision and told reporters “We have always operated lawfully and once again I am pleased that this has come through clearly in the court today.” Barber added “We now need to knuckle down, recover from the disastrous period we have endured to date and get back to running a bingo establishment that the people of Cork can enjoy for many years to come.” The police declined to comment on the court’s ruling. Bingo players who want to contribute to charity but do not live near a bingo hall have another option. Many online bingo sites host games for various charitable organizations. UK online bingo sites have already raised millions for various good causes.

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