High Stakes Bingo Machines May Result in Mandatory Limits for the UK

Opposing ambitions arose in the UK when liberal democrat Communities Minister Don Foster started a campaign to wage a battle over the legal limits that can be ‘wagered’ at high stakes gambling machines. Essentially the power struggle between the Coalition and those who maintain an investment interest in games of chance – for example casino owners results in the Coalition ordering a statistical analysis of ‘gambling in the UK’. The physical number and location of the stakes, and the prize amounts and levels will all be examined in the review.

Foster is promoting that more regulation is necessary in order to control the amount of risk citizens are allowed to take with their finances. Clearly upon a moral platform, Foster expressed his viewpoint on the matter by stating that “For too long this problem has been swept under the carpet. There’s no doubt this is ruining people’s lives.” The underlying moral, political, and economic effects of high stakes gambling is certainly the subject of scrutiny in the UK for the time.

Political and Moral Tensions

For now, the Coalition rejected the recommendation that the current restrictions on gambling machines be decreased. The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee suggested that local authorities be given the discretion to approve even more casinos that would house as many as twenty high stakes machines. The committee wishes to see more ‘Las Vegas style’ gaming machines that offer as much as £500 prizes.

Britain’s puritanical gambling laws were relaxed, but for the committee, not enough. According to Don Foster, however, the laws are far too relaxed and he cites ‘destruction of lives’ as the basis for his desire for tighter restrictions when it comes to gambling. If Foster wins, the pendulum will swing the opposite way and stricter governmental regulations on gambling will be implemented.

High Stakes Gambling Hangs in the Balance

Regardless of the outcome the gaming and casino industry in the UK be will be impacted in one way or another. Subsequent to the relaxation of historically puritan rule, citizens in the UK saw high stakes machines in betting shops or casinos on the rise. The fixed odds machines spiked from 16,380 in 2007 to the current number of terminals at 32,000. Punters can currently wager up to £500 per spin and £18,000 per hour at the ‘high stakes’ machines. Should the pendulum swing again punters will be limited to £2 per spin.

Foster asserted that the ‘industry’ could negotiate for a higher limit than his proposed £2 but it would be up to them to initiate the request. The proposal for a new £2 per spin limit on wagers would shrink the gap between the now ‘high stakes’ machines and the stakes that are currently found in bingo halls and certain casino games. The clampdown will allow local councils to determine the restrictions on the machines and require websites operating from abroad to acquire UK gambling licenses.

Bingo! Tippett Trades to the Sydney Swans

The Sydney Swans gain Kurt Tippett for a net loss to the Adelaide Crows. Kurt Tippett took the Bingo! plunge and signed on with the Sydney Swans. The Adelaide Crows have expressed their surprise and disappointment.

Kurt Tippett: The Best of the Best

At 203 cm (6’8”) and 107 kg (235 lbs.) of muscle, Kurt Tippett is built for football. During the 2012 season, Tippett kicked 39 goals in 21 games. Tippett is a proven competitor and a congenial sportsman. He is a positive element of any team.

The Trade – A True Legend in the Making

Kurt Tippett had been with the Adelaide Crows for six seasons. He is a key forward. The five-year offer from the Crows was in excess of the four-year offer from the Sydney Swans. Tippett had an obvious yen to return to his hometown of Sydney. The AFL premier is the Sydney Swans football club. Tippett, a 25-year-old personification of strength and energy, notified the Crows that he wanted to hold up any contract talks until after the August 20 season final. Two days after the hold, chief executive of the Swans, Andrew Ireland, notified Tippett’s manager, Peter Blucher, that his football club was interested in the young man with the great stats.

The key forward gave the trade plenty of thought. To clear his head, he went surfing for a few days and Bingo! He had made his decision. On “Mad Monday”, while premiership players were whooping it up with costumes and their medals, coach John Longmire and Ireland made their way to Tippett’s residence. Blucher joined them, and three hours of discussion ensued. Blucher later commented on Melbourne radio station SEN that he was amazed that the parties made it through the front door of the Tippett family home without detection by the media.

He is even more awestruck that he, Longmire and Ireland were able to leave the house without the hullabaloo of the media. Ireland gave it his best shot and Tippett sat back and considered the deal. That’s when he went surfing. Upon his return, on Friday, October 5, Tippett called his manager. The one word out of Tippett’s mouth was: Bingo! Saturday, October 6, saw Kurt Tippett requesting a trade to the Swans.

The Draw of Sydney

Blucher said that the lifestyle in Sydney holds more balance for Tippett. That lifestyle was a major element of the decision to accept the trade according to Blucher. Easier would have been for the player to stay put in Adelaide and avoid the hassle and fanfare of the move. However, easier is not always better, and Tippett is a level-headed fellow who weighed his options carefully and decided on a more comfortable football/lifestyle fit.

Tippett’s statement to the press contained a couple of the factors driving the trade. The first involves his family and friends. He was born and raised in Sydney and will now be happy to return home. The second element concerns the team itself. The Swans are the 2012 premiers. They have a depth of skill and strength that is very appealing to a player on the rise. In the game of bingo there is usually one exuberant player who has the joy of yelling Bingo! Tippett is that winner. Everyone loves him.

Drag Bingo with Prism

Sam Lloyd, a freshman at Ithaca College was ecstatic when he found out that Prism was hosting a Drag Bingo event. Prism is one of four bisexual, gay, transgendered and lesbian (LGBT) student organizations at Ithaca. Lloyd immediately began asking his female friends for clothing so he could create his drag queen attire for the first Drag Bingo event hosted by Prism. Lloyd said he wore a red leopard print dress at the last drag queen event that he attended but this time he wants to wear a David Bowie-inspired outfit.

Bingo – Not Only for Drag Queens

Prism is an LGBT organization at Ithaca College and is hosting its 1st ever Drag Bingo event. This event is the 1st of the year and anyone is welcome to attend for free but donations are appreciated. Students are encouraged to dress in drag but it is not mandatory. Colton Bready, a junior at Ithaca and a secretary at Prism is the unofficial expert of drag. Bready says that because his organization works diligently to include everyone, Drag Bingo will not only accept drag queens but drag kings as well. He said that this is why it is named ‘Drag Bingo’ rather than ‘Drag Queen Bingo’.

Drag kings are women who dress to look like men and Bready says this group is greatly over-looked during drag events. Bready says that as long as he is involved in the event, he will work hard to make everyone feel included. Zach Mota, a freshman at Ithaca says he is excited to socialize and meet new people at the event. Mota says he wants to meet many different members of the community and talk with people who care about the same issues as he does. Lloyd also shares his sentiment as he wishes to meet new people in the LGBT community as well. Lloyd says it is fun event that is open to the community and it truly gets people involved.

Charitable Donations from Drag Bingo

Besides the fun, social aspect of Drag Bingo, the funds that are collected at the event will go to support LGBT causes. The treasurer at Prism, Linda Harrison says that the donations will be used to host a charity drag show in the spring. Harrison says the drag show is their biggest event of the year and the money from that event will go to the Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is an organization that works to prevent the suicide of members from the LGBT community.

This program also offers support to those who are experiencing emotional instability. The Trevor Project also runs the Trevor Line, an LGBT hotline that offers help and support to those in need. The spring drag show that was held by Prism last year raised over $250 on behalf of the Trevor Project – they hope to raise at least $500 next year. Anyone who wishes to attend is welcome to go to Drag Bingo. One of the goals of the Drag Bingo event is to educate those who may not be familiar with drag culture so the event is open to everyone in the community.

Breaking Bingo News Stories

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.

Newbridge Bingo Anniversary and the Joy of Bingo Brigade for Charity

25 years ago Seamus Egan of College Park founded bingo in Newbridge and the anniversary celebration is set! A cheese and wine celebration is scheduled to commemorate a quarter of a century of bingo fun. Seamus promises that there will be some surprises that evening and expects quite a gathering. The wine and cheese are reason enough to come socialize with fellow Newbridge bingo enthusiasts, but the surprises add a dash of spice to the evening! In London, the Joy of Bingo group, a family of bingo is raising money for breast cancer care. A plethora of promotions were made available to customers at 888ladies bingo this summer in the effort to provide a summer of donating to good causes while enjoying the sense of community with the 888ladies! The 888ladies and promos put the ‘fun’ in fundraising! Receive bonus funds and welcome packages by signing up today!

Wine, Cheese, and Bingo Surprises

 Mainly a social gathering, the sense of camaraderie that bingo brought to Newbridge offered a fantastic purpose to ‘gather’. There were ‘regulars’ who claimed seats as almost as their very own! Seamus is said to have missed only two events during the entire 25 years. Seamus highlighted he fact that the ladies of bingo are absolutely brilliant and have been loyal participants. There are men that take part in the bingo festivities, as well. There funds raised go toward the needs of Newbridge’s football leagues including two junior teams and three adult teams. Many citizens of Newbridge have contributed their enthusiasm, friendship, and assistance to the football teams via active participation in weekly bingo events. In line with the technological advances during the course, Seamus ensured that the hall kept up ‘with the times’ and went to all digital bingo to continue to attract large crowds and a diversified age range.

He made note that although the regulars have ‘reserved’ themselves their favorite seats in the house, there are plenty more available and encourages everyone to come out and share the joy! Many members that have contributed to the development of Newbridge Bingo over the years and watched as the bingo hall evolved to what it is today. The contributions to the Newbridge football teams were priceless and the organization used to have three busses coming to four different bingos, now on Tuesday nights, from at least a 15 mile radius! While there is typically only one bus arriving these days, there is plenty of fun and lots of fabulous jackpots to be had! The young people in the community may classify bingo as ‘an older person’s game’, but according to Jimmy Dowling, club member, the facility has really kept up with modern technology. The young and ‘older’ alike can enjoy the games for £10.

Joy of Bingo!

The Joy of Bingo community launched a ‘fun-tastic’ summer of bingo exuberance with their Strawberry Tea Bingo Games. The £1k grand prize keeps the best of the best yummy-mummy bloggers coming back for more! Bloggers can share stories, ideas, and the joy of bingo camaraderie. Twenty bloggers were selected and given £50 in credits to play bingo! The bloggers were also able to contribute additional money of their own, as well. The idea – all bloggers agree upon an amount to be donated from their winnings, personal contributions, and even welcome bonuses to a good cause….their charity of choice. The more they play the more they raise – for charity! It’s a ‘win-win’ situation and always a feeling of community with the 888ladies. This was a phenomenal chance to experience the fun while learning the art of bingo.

Playing bingo and progressive slots offers charity donators a sense of community, social gaming intrigue, and fun. The competition results will be published so everyone can check-out the ‘who’s who’ of the bloggers, as well as how much they won during the promotion. The Joy of Bingo planned to donate a minimum of £20,000 to Breast Cancer Care. The winning bloggers will donate the amount they choose from their winnings to the charity with which they are most inspired. Various other promotions were also available during the course of the fundraising event. This promotional event was an experimental process that offered the added bonus of a community feel and a summer of ‘saving’ for benevolent causes!

Seniors Speak Out for Bingo in Maine!

Hell hath no fury like seniors deprived of Bingo!

After 20 years of weekly Bingo games at the Biddeford 50+ Club, a Maine State Police investigator re-interpreted a statute and shut down the social activity. Jim Gass is the Grinch who stole Bingo!

The Law

Title 17, Chapter 13-A, Section 313-A defines the senior exemption from the license requirement for Bingo. According to the law, if 90% or more of the membership in a club is at least 62 years of age, the club is legally able to hold Bingo events without obtaining a license, so long as it is not for profit, but for the recreation and enjoyment of the members.

Since 1992, the Club has been duly operating Bingo games on a weekly basis. The games produce no profit for the Club. Debbie Lizotte, senior program coordinator for the 50+ Club, began her job in around 2002. At that time, she confirmed, through a state official, that no license was necessary.

In a recent telephone interview, Gass stated that he has reread the law. His expanded interpretation of Section 313-A somehow includes the players in the not for profit provision. Therefore he shut down the Bingo games at the end of September 2012 due to the $10 in prize money.

The Bingo Club

Dozens of happy seniors appeared every week at the Bingo games. They arrived early and remained well after the last Bingo! was shouted. The Wednesday late morning Bingo events were more than exciting and mentally energizing games: Each event was an entertaining social gathering for all. They had lunch together, chitchatted about current happenings in the community and in their personal lives and got caught up on worldly news. While Bingo is what brought the group together, the social scene was the central focus.

The very real recreation and entertainment of Club members fit directly into the wording of the statute. Jean McLaughlin, a member who enjoyed playing Bingo and socializing with her friends, commented that players came from Sanford, Old Orchard Beach, Wells, Dayton, Saco and from the rest of the towns in the area.

Club member Dorothy Pears, who resides in Sanford, said that the early hour of the games was geared to seniors like herself, who have trouble driving in the dark. Frank Defrancesco, the 50+ club president, stated that the Bingo events were sorely missed by the group. He said that the social setting was the draw for the members of the Club. Defrancesco added that the Bingo events provided a day out. It was the highlight of the week for many of the players.

Biddeford Steps to the Plate

The vocal dissatisfaction of the 50+ Club members has come to the attention of the City of Biddeford. The city government is presently in the process of restoring the Bingo games through various legal maneuvers of City Solicitor Keith Jacques.

The Maine State Police Investigator

Investigator Gass told Lizotte that the games could continue, sans the cash prizes. Let them win candy bars was his retort. Lizotte pointed out that candy bars are inappropriate as many club members are diabetic. She added that there is nothing exciting about winning a candy bar.

Bingo Update: U.S. Supreme Court Shuts Down Country Crossings Lawsuit

Once upon a time, Country Crossings issued approximately $29 million in bonds. Those bonds were issued pursuant to a local court ruling validating the use of electronic bingo machines as a means to repay the bonds. Along came former Gov. Bob Riley and his agenda to destroy electronic bingo in Alabama.

The threat of a raid to confiscate the bingo machines forced the closure of Country Crossings. The $29 million in bonds has never been repaid. Country Crossings has become Center Stage Alabama. There appears to be no viable source of revenue with which to repay the bonds. Therefore, bondholder Lord Abbett Municipal Income Fund filed a civil lawsuit in Federal Court against Riley and his Task Force on Illegal Gambling.

Bingo Machines

After a local court validated Country Crossings electronic bingo machines, former Gov. Riley decided to shut down the electronic bingo industry in Alabama. He publicly threated to raid Country Crossings and seize the bingo machines. That prolonged threat forced the closure of the establishment. Further threats of prosecution by the state caused Country Crossings to remain shuttered.

The determination of U.S. District Court Judge Keith Watkins favored Riley and his task force. Watkins ruled that somehow the Country Crossings closure was voluntary. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the case, reasoning that a governmental entity can begin a forfeiture action without a court hearing if the enterprise is potentially criminal. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the matter. The Court’s refusal creates, as the law of the land, the verdict that any local, state or federal governmental entity can raid any enterprise that it deems illegal, even after a local court rules that it is legal.

Sharpsburg Parish Is Tweeting Bingo

Bingo is the answer; the question is “how often”?!?

Since the beginning of bingo in 1530, it has been a popular civic moneymaker. Italy started the ball rolling almost 500 years ago with Il Gioco del Lotto D’Italy. As an instant success, bingo funded the Italian government and army. In the 1770s, Italy spread the bingo word to France as Le Lotto. The American bingo innovator was Edwin Lowe, a toy salesman. He fell in love with the game in 1929, changed the name from Beano to Bingo and produced his own boxed bingo sets.

Then the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania became interested. In 1930 a priest bought several of Lowe’s bingo sets and went to town! However, there were too many winners as the number of card variations was small. The priest approached Lowe with a request for more variations. Lowe answered this request with 6,000 different card combinations developed by a mathematics professor at Columbia University.

Sharpsburg’s St. Juan Diego Parish Bingo

For decades, St. Juan Diego Parish has hosted weekly bingo. As many as 250 players would regularly attend the games. Recently, however, that number has dropped to 70. In order to liven up their attendance record, the parish decided to cut down on the schedule. They thought that monthly games might just be a luckier combo than weekly games. So monthly games it is! Now the proof in the pudding is whether this tactic actually works for the church. That remains to be seen.

The Game in North America

In the U.S. and Canada together, around $90 million worth of bingo cards are purchased each week! The game has become a $5 billion contributor to charities. This game remains big business.

Australian Bingo Lovers

Warrnambool, Australia is bingotown. At Temperance Hall in Warrnambool, players begin arriving a couple of hours before the games are scheduled to start. The prizes are wonderful bonuses, but the real draw is the social connection.

Bingo has been popular in Australia for decades. The now generation has caught onto the social ambiance and gaming excitement of bingo halls. There are various bingo locations in Warrnambool; Temperance Hall on Friday nights enjoys one of the longest histories. That hall has seen more than 30 years of play. The bingo regulars include approximately 200 players.

During the three decades of bingo at Temperance Hall, a subculture has developed that adds to the welcome familiarity of Friday evening bingo. Many of the players have established specific seats as their own possession. They arrive from locations across the southwest of Australia. Almost like extended families, they bring take-out dinners and play cards during the two hours before the first number is called.

Colin Parker, the volunteer supervisor of Temperance Hall bingo for the past 20 years, commented that a new generation of players is establishing itself. Most of them go off to the pub as a group after bingo. One younger player said that it’s the atmosphere that pulls her in, and that the prizes are something extra. She loves the adrenalin rush to mark the last number on the card. For Alan Rodger, Bingo! is the best.

The Texas Bingo Act

A 5th Circuit judge ruled that Texas is not violating the right to free speech by restricting proceeds from bingo to be spent on political advocacy. The Texas Bingo Enabling Act allows for an exception to the gambling laws of the state that allows eligible charities to host bingo games in order to raise money for their charities. However, this Act does not allow these charities to use the money raised from their bingo games to be spent on politics including campaigning against or for ballot issues and lobbying.

The Texas Bingo Case

In 2011, a complaint was lodged against the Texas Lottery Commission by a group of charities that included the Institute for Disability Access, multiple Redmen tribes, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Amvets Post #52 and several Elk Lodges. These charities argued that the ban on contributing to political activities was a violation of their 1st Amendment rights. In Austin, a federal judge gave a summary judgment ruling in favor of these groups and granted a permanent ruling that blocked the enforcement of this ban in the Act. However, a federal appeals court in New Orleans reversed this ruling and said this case was different from the ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee.

Judge Harold Demoss Jr., speaking for a panel of 3 judges said that the ban on contributing to political activity in this Act is within the power of the government – the government can sponsor some activities to the barring of others and thus does not violate the right to free speech. He goes on to say that this case is different from the Citizens United case because Citizens United involved a case against a federal law that prohibits corporations from spending money for speech that relates to a federal election. Judge Demoss said that Texas did not restrict speech within the context of a government subsidy as in the Citizens United case.

The Texas Bingo Act Ruling

In the Texas case, the government of Texas started a subsidy program that allows charities to raise funds for their foundations and because they are participating in this program, the state requires that the funds are not used in political activities. The ruling states that this ban does not restrict political or free speech it just says that the state will not subsidize this type of activity. The panel agreed that the government of Texas did make a subsidy program that is based on a licensing rather than tax exemptions or cash payments. Judge Demoss said that by the creation of this Act, the state of Texas allowed a limited exception to the ban on gambling by enabling charities to hold bingo games, with no competition, to generate extra revenue for their foundations.

He says that just because this supplemental revenue is available through licensing rather than tax exemptions or cash payments does not change the fact that this program is a government subsidy for charities that participate. The panel said they do not believe that there is a constitutional violation by allowing this Act to be enforced if the state holds these bingo games and then gives the money to charities. The ban in this Act was therefore ruled that it did not restrict free speech outside of the bingo program. Charities are still allowed to hold bingo games and be involved in political activity but the Act simply restricts the use of bingo proceeds to fund these political activities.

Lingo Bingo – The Game of Politics

The presidential debates often appear to be sparring matches. Watching the back-and-forth action of the debates is similar to watching a tennis game. Lingo Bingo is the baby born of the statements of political actors.

Presidential Actors Ply their Trade

The grave issues determined by the results of presidential elections, are often side-stepped in favor of the glib and rehearsed statements of the contestants. Finger pointing commonly replaces the politico’s stand on important matters that decide the future direction of America.

Candidate Bingo

Each candidate becomes a good-looking and self-confident model. There is a lot at stake, as presidential pay is relatively huge, and the lifelong pension of a president is of great value. Barak Obama has employed John Kerry to rehearse endlessly for the debates. Kerry becomes Mitt Romney in the rehearsals. Obama is learning his lines well.

As in any marriage, no one knows for sure who they have married until the honeymoon is over. In many instances, the real spouse stands up immediately after the wedding ceremony concludes. A snake salesman can sell his product easily to the public simply by promising an upward change from the current dilemmas. Once in office, that change may never materialize, and a downward slide may continue indefinitely. The real question concerns the actual ability and foresight of the candidate to focus on employment and other life-altering issues. The voter can never be secure.

The Voting Public

Elections are games of chance, just as Bingo is pure luck. The voting public wants gun control, or the opposite. Voters want economic security, quality public education for their children, safe neighborhoods, fair access to good jobs, reasonably-priced and attractive housing and a bill of fake words that make them feel comfortable. Yes! Voters want to be lead down a primrose path, even if that path ultimately does not exist.

Lingo Bingo

One of the absolutes of any presidential debate is the use of standard political statements. Candidates want to hit home abstract concepts that voters can remember and take with them to the polls. In the Running conceived of a very bright idea. The game of Bingo is so similar to political games, that the two are a natural duo. TV viewers are treated to presidential debates that measure the attraction of the candidates and their acting ability. Real answers to substantial concerns are few and far between.

Lingo Bingo puts it all into perspective. The winning quips of the rivals for the presidency of the United States, as well as the bloopers that are out! of the tennis court, are all fodder for the Bingo card. The squares on those Bingo cards contain different phrases used often by the two major candidates. As each glib word or phrase is spoken, players cross off the appropriate space. Bingo! is the shout of the first player who finds five statements in a row. Lingo Bingo cards can be obtained online. With marker in hand, TV viewers can really enjoy the political game of the debates!