When Charitable Bingo Goes Bad

Charitable bingo has a very long history in the United States. For decades, bingo has provided charities with billions of dollars which have been used to finance a variety of good causes. Now even online bingo sites like BingoHouse are giving money to charity, which entices some interest from players of the online bingo game. Bingo has been associated with the Catholic Church and veterans organizations for years but recently several private charities have entered the charitable bingo ‘business’ with mixed results. In a strip mall in Middletown, Ohio, a huge sign proclaims ‘Bingo’ but there are no games in progress. Instead, the so called bingo hall is selling instant bingo tickets and lottery style pull tab games for a dollar apiece. The ‘bingo hall’ is run by Chee Chee Rose Ministries and all proceeds are supposed to benefit charities.

When approached by reporters, Chee Chee Rose refused all media attempts to interview her in person or over the telephone. The media is not the only one asking questions about the operations of this ‘bingo hall.’ Associate assistant attorney general Sam Kirk stated, “We are reviewing the application submitted by Chee Chee Rose Ministries for 2010. If an organization’s getting a temporary permit, I think it’s because in most cases, there is a red flag.” Chee Chee Rose has also been included in a Federal indictment of former Butler County Commissioner Mike Fox who is awaiting trial on Federal Charges. A Better Business report on this organization states, “Despite written BBB of Cincinnati requests in the past year, this organization either has not responded to BBB of Cincinnati requests for information or has declined to be evaluated in relation to the BBB of Cincinnati’s Standards for Charity Accountability.”

In Ohio, instant bingo is a cash only business worth about $1 billion dollars a year. Proceeds are supposed to benefit charities but the money is hard to track because of the cash only nature of the business. Rose’s soon to be ex husband Ted McAllister said his wife uses funds meant for charities, “to fund a lifestyle that goes beyond what she reports on her income.” All attempts to contact Rose have been fruitless. It is very sad when a shady operator takes advantage of the average person’s charitable impulses. Hopefully this will not tarnish the reputation of charity bingo or internet bingo.

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