Lack of Bingo Oversight Worries Some Florida Lawmakers

Lack of Bingo Oversight Worries Some Florida Lawmakers30 year old Matt West has been a runner and caller at Florida bingo halls for almost a decade. West has worked at Mr. Bingo in Panama City fir the last six years and said he has learned that bingo is “something people do in their spare time.” West pays winners at the hall and told reporters “The bigger the crowd, the faster the pace is going to be. Everything kind of comes naturally; you treat people like people, you take their money and you pay them out.”

Most bingo halls are open seven days a week mornings and evenings. Some players in a hurry play the pull tab games available at most bingo parlors. In Florida bingo players are still allowed to smoke and while there Florida legislators have crafted laws to slow the expansion of gambling in the state there is very little oversight for bingo. Florida’s laws prohibit gambling establishments from operating solely for the sake of gambling. Bingo games in Florida must sponsored by a charitable organization that has been in business for at least three years.

The law also requires that all revenues generated by bingo games to go to the sponsoring organizations after operating costs have been deducted. Local bingo games have donated millions to various charities over the years. Gregory Wilson, Florida’s Chief Assistant State Attorney said that bingo’s legal status was from the days when churches used bingo as a fundraising tool. Because bingo games were well established before Florida passed gambling laws legislators created exceptions to let bingo games continue. Bingo revenues must be donated to charities under the current laws.

The statute that governs bingo does not require bingo halls to file financial reports with the state that shows operating costs and the amounts donated to charity. George Hughes of Bingo Paradise told reporters “We work from trust. We do our thing and they do theirs. We take our (money) to the lodge and then give it out to the people.” The unregulated relationship between operators and charities has led several operators to take advantage of the state’s “very general guidelines.” In recent months there has been an influx of former internet cafe patrons. Most of the returnees are seniors looking for affordable entertainment. So far there have been no real scandals in the bingo industry and lawmakers have seen no real reason to regulate the games.

Online Bingo Reviews

Subscribe for Newsletter

We respect your email privacy
Read our privacy policy
Protected by Copyscape Original Content Checker
Visit Us On Twitter