Where Did the Money Go?

Where Did The Money Go?Charity bingo is big business in some states. In Texas charity bingo brings in about $700 million annually. There is a problem though; of that $700 million only $29 million actually made it to any charities. The problem is a lack of regulation and oversight. So just who is in charge of regulation of charity bingo in Texas? The answer is not clear. Just about everyone involved in charity bingo is more like a large corporation than a charity.

In Corpus Christi the Columbian Ladies of South Texas operate bingo games to make money for their church Our Lady of Guadalupe. The group is affiliated with the Knights of Columbus and host games on Wednesday nights. The group took in about $1.12 million last year and paid out more than $860,000 in prizes and expenses. After expanses the charity only got 3% of the $257,000 that was left over. The group is supposed to pay the charity 35% after prizes and expenses but they didn’t come close. The group’s treasurer Dee Escamilla told reporters “I can’t even come up with a figure.” The group is registered with the IRS as a 501(c) (3) which means there are a ‘nonprofit.’

So what does the group actually do? Betty Constante, a member of the group, told reporters “We give out scholarships and we have Christmas parties for the children, especially families right here from the bingo, because they’re the ones that support our bingo, and we help our church, the Lady of Guadalupe Church.” The Columbian Ladies offer scholarships that range from $1,500 on down. In 2012 the group paid out less than $8,000 to the charity which does not fund many scholarships. So where does the money go?

Last year the group hosted 157 bingo sessions which averages out to $48.76 per session for the charity. The group brought in over a million dollars and averaged $7,000 per session. The ladies get paid for their time and some make more than $75 per session; more than the charity receives. The women admitted that they actually started the group to start the bingo games and do not raise funds any other way. One member of the group made $12,000 last year. There is very little oversight. The Texas Lottery Commission is supposed to regulate bingo but enforcement is lax. A 2012 Sunset Advisory Commission report found that bingo has “very real opportunities for fraud.” In the meantime charities are being cheated out of their rightful share of bingo revenues.

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