A bingo hall that was raising money for the Marion County, Ohio Athletic Boosters was robbed. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is investigating and still searching for the robbery suspects. Resident of Marion County, Marie Yoder says she was been supporting the Athletic Boosters Bingo Hall since its opening in 2007. She says the children cannot even afford to buy equipment to play sports and that is why they play bingo 3 nights a week – to raise money for sports equipment. Yoder said there have never been any crimes committed against the bingo hall until this robbery.
Bingo Hall Theft
Tom Cotton, the director of the bingo hall said he could hear screaming, crying and all sorts of noises that night. He says he knew those screams were not from someone winning bingo but because there were 2 masked men trying to rob the people who were counting the proceeds for the evening. Cotton said he saw 2 guns and immediately got onto the floor as the robbers were yelling to give them the money. Cotton says the men walked right through the back door and into his office and stole approximately $6,000. That money was going to be used to help fund band and sports programs at several local schools. Sherriff Tim Bailey is asking for any information from the public as he said they have no suspects, no vehicle, no direction of travel and no leads. The men were wearing hooded sweatshirts, gloves and ski masks. Since the incident, the bingo hall has hired a security guard and now locks the back door. Luckily for the Athletic Boosters, they are insured and will receive most, if not all of the money back.
Electronic Bingo Ban
The Baltimore Patapsco Bingo hall lost its court case that would stop police from implementing a ban on sweepstakes bingo halls that give cash prizes from electronic bingo machines. Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Geller did not grant a temporary restraining order for the business operator of the bingo hall because he said the owner did not prove there was any risk of harm. The owner asked for the restraining order after the bingo hall received a notice from the police saying that electronic bingo machines were considered to be slot machines and were therefore illegal.
This notice was based on a ruling that under Maryland law, slot games or similar games are illegal because they give cash prizes. The lawyer for the bingo hall company and the spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department could not be reached for comment. The operators of these electronic bingo machines say that the game are legal because they sell time on the internet and only give free points. They said they only similarity between these machines and slot machines are their appearance. Patapsco Bingo also has a traditional bingo hall and is one of the biggest electronic bingo machine operators in Baltimore and has over 100 machines. Other bingo hall operators have also started using these electronic machines within the city of Baltimore as well as in other areas in the county.