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.

Moorpark Bingo Games are Back!

After an abrupt interruption in the usual bingo games at the Moorpark Active Adult Center, bingo will finally resume once more on September 20 and will regularly operate every Thursday from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM. For the past 20 years or so, people have been participating in the bingo activities at Moorpark Active Adult Center. It was put on hold on June 28 2011, and now, with the help of the Rotary Club of Moorpark and American Legion Post 502, it will resume. This is an official statement made by Angel Sierra, the center supervisor of the Adult Center.

Mayor Janice Parvin, a Rotarian, was able to find out during a meeting with the president of Rotary Club Moorpark, B Scott Farrenkopf, that the bingo program has been running for 25 years and that the Moorpark Senior Citizens Inc. would shut it down once Anthony Bellasalma, the owner, retired. They originally planned on putting the bingo equipment on sale. Once the news was published, both the American Legion Post 502 in Moorpark and the Rotary Club of Moorpark discussed with Mr. Bellasalma that the equipment ought to be redeployed in the center, instead of ending up somewhere outside the city. The American Legion Post 502 volunteered to pay for 1/3 of the equipment and also took responsibility to host the program every week. The remaining costs of the equipment will be paid by the Rotary District 5240.

Cost Benefit Analysis for Bingo Entertainment

The cost for administering the program is relatively low. And it is largely restricted to the labour of the individuals who will set up, clean up and guide the players during the events. Before this regular activity was put on hold, at least 34 senior citizens were regularly participating. Bingo has been a means for senior citizens to still be able to maintain a social environment where there is a possibility for building new friendships. This was one of the most effective ways to keep them safely entertained outside of their homes. Fun-filled entertainment is the order of the day at traditional bingo games.

Bingo is Back!

Once the bingo resumes, the program will be offering more than fun and games. The administrators will prioritize mental and cognitive workouts and a lot of socialization. They believe that this is vital during the aging process. Deb Holler, the assistant district governor of the Rotary Club, said that she was very proud of the job that the city has done to revive bingo. The Moorpark Rotary Club pulled a lot of strings to save this program for the community.

Bingo with the San Lorenzo Sociables

Bingo keeps the San Lorenzo Sociables young!

The San Lorenzo Sociables, a social club that has been around for nearly 30 years, is a group of senior citizens that get together every week for bingo, dancing and other activities. Although they are elderly, these seniors really do know how to shake a leg. Many of the seniors have been part of the club for decades and they all say that they truly enjoy their time together. One San Lorenzo Sociables member, Charlie Spann, just celebrated his 100th birthday – a milestone that not many people get to experience. Spann is known as ‘Bingo Charlie’ and has been part of the San Lorenzo Sociables for many years. He celebrated his 100th birthday with his fellow Sociables.

Bingo Charlie

Maude, Bingo Charlie’s wife, is not far behind him as she is 95 years old. She says that the day she met Charlie was one of the best days of her life and she feels the same about him now as she did that day. Maude met Charlie at a family function in Arizona when a friend set them up. Maude said she fell in love with Charlie’s kindness, particularly when Charlie asked her to take a ride with him to get a coke. Charlie was instantly attracted to Maude’s trendy pageboy hairstyle. In December, the couple will celebrate their 73 year

anniversary. Charlie and Maude have two children, 5 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren and are still as in love as they ever were. Maude says that they have an almost perfect marriage and always work their differences out before they go to sleep. Maude says that she and Charlie have grown up together and their bond has only grown stronger throughout the years.

Every Wednesday, about 20 to 30 members of the San Lorenzo Sociables get together at 10 in the morning and dance their hearts out until noon then go to Wendy’s to have lunch together. One regular named George Lee is 94 years old and he says that the club keeps him feeling and looking younger than he really is. The members who go to dance each week pay a $3 cover fee to help pay for other activities like holiday parties and bingo. The funds from the cover fee also go to pay for a live musician to play music while they dance. Currently, Len Rogers is the musician that plays for the San Lorenzo Sociables. Rogers started singing and playing the keyboard for the San Lorenzo Sociables a few months ago.

Rogers provides a variety of music for the Sociables so they can all enjoy their favorite dances. A board with lights indicates which dance selection is currently being offered. This dance selection includes the Foxtrot, Waltz, Chair Mixer, Latin, Paul Jones and variety. The members of the San Lorenzo Sociables say they really enjoy Rogers’ music because it is upbeat enough to do the Jitterbug. Some of the other favorite dances of the San Lorenzo Sociables include the Swing and Latin-inspired dances. All in all, the members of the Socialbes enjoy their dancing, bingo and spending time with others who share their interests.

Bingo! Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Picked

An air-blown bingo machine picked the winners. Bingo was the mechanism that answered the call for random selection and process transparency. The winners picked are 68 medical marijuana dispensaries out of 404 applicants.

Arizona Law on Medical Marijuana

 Arizona citizens voted to legalize medical marijuana. The voters created 126 medical marijuana dispensary districts. 27 districts had no applicants. Of the remaining 99 districts, 29 had only one applicant, alleviating the necessity of a drawing. In addition to the 68 dispensaries chosen through the bingo method, two districts are currently embroiled in court matters, presumably concerning federal pre-emption issues. The pending cases preclude an allocation of dispensaries for those two districts.

The number of applicants was greatest in the areas of Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff and Coolidge. The leading number was Yavapai County’s 14 applicants. At present, almost 30,000 patients are availing themselves of the Arizona medical marijuana law. Their permits entitle them to grow their own pot. If a dispensary begins to operate within a radius of 25 miles from their homes, then the individual permits will become null and void. Health Services Director Will Humble has confirmed that the 99 dispensaries are located within 25 miles of 98% of the state’s citizens. An aspect of the Arizona marijuana law protects the identity of dispensaries. However, the operators are not prevented from advertising or otherwise identifying themselves.

Pre-emption by Federal Law

Normally, federal law pre-empts state laws. Arizona legalization of medical marijuana has, however, proven to be an exception to date. Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne have recognized the overriding pre-emption issue. Having filed and lost various court cases regarding the legality of the Arizona marijuana law, Governor Brewer has now allowed the process of dispensary selection to go forward. The nonbinding opinion that was issued by Attorney General Horne concluded that indeed the 2010 Arizona law is pre-empted by the federal prohibition of marijuana. However, Horne conceded that the bingo drawings are legal, as the selection of dispensaries does not effectuate the actual distribution of marijuana.

Horne has expressed his view that the judicial system will most certainly close down the distribution process through at least one of the two remaining court cases. That legal matter involves the Maricopa County district. However, the attorney general fails to take into consideration that in a prior case, one judge refused entirely to rule on the pre-emption issue. An attorney for the dispensaries, Ryan Hurley, commented that Horne may very well be incorrect in his assessment of the legal situation. As Hurley has stated, the distribution of medical marijuana is currently the law in Arizona, which has a vested interest in the health of its citizens.

Bingo by Design

Health Services Director Humble recently commented that the dispensary certification is only the beginning of a paperwork and inspection process that may take up to a year. The last step will entail a license to operate. However, he expects that some dispensaries, with presently advanced preparations, will be up and running within the month. Humble has said that the wording of the marijuana law itself was compiled from similar laws of other states. However, he believes that the use of the bingo machine in the selection process is probably a one-of-a-kind concept.

The “Beanzy” Basket Bingo fundraiser is a winner!

In a small dot on the U.S. map, over 100 people are expected to get together and play bingo, eat hotdogs and pay tribute to the memory of a life-loving lady. Thelma Jean “Beanzy” Foote was Ann Arcurie’s good friend. After Beanzy’s death, Arcurie needed a catharsis.

Bingo to the Rescue

That catharsis materialized when Arcurie put together the bingo that Beanzy loved with the needs of local fire departments. Two of Beanzy’s grandsons are volunteer firefighters. The thought of an annual charitable bingo event to honor the memory of a great friend was a natural. All of Beanzy’s family and friends jumped at the idea. Thus was born the “Beanzy” Basket Bingo fundraiser. Most of the profits go to local volunteer fire companies.

Friends and family who loved Thelma donate the prize baskets and homemade goodies, along with their time and energy. This is the fifth year for the fundraiser. The date is September 23, 2012 from 12:30 PM on into the afternoon. Arcurie, a Moscow, PA resident, is the founder and co-chairwoman for the event.

Thelma was predeceased by her husband of 54 years. They had three daughters and various grandchildren. Their daughters are Cherrie Bentler, Debra Colarossi and Francine Edmondson. The Footes were friendly folk, who often hosted their many friends and family at their home. Their doors were always open. It gives everyone a feeling of happiness to participate in Thelma’s bingo tribute.

“Beanzy” Basket Bingo Fundraiser

Over 100 people have attended the bingo fundraiser in each of the past four years. At least as many participants are expected at this year’s event. So far, the “Beanzy” Basket Bingo fundraiser has contributed $8,200 to three local volunteer fire departments: Elmhurst/Roaring Brook, Madisonville and Gouldsboro, in addition to the North Pocono Senior Center and North Pocono Food Pantry. The 2012 goal is to donate more than $2,000 to those same worthy causes.

Admission prices vary according to the number of bingo cards players want. 18 bingo cards come with the $20 admission price, 12 bingo cards are available for $15 and the $10 admission price consists of 6 bingo cards. 15 bingo games will be played, and many baskets won. Other prizes include gift certificates to restaurants in the community and homemade delicacies.

Bingo Celebrations for One and All

More than bingo will be enjoyed by the families and individuals who participate. Sausage and peppers, hotdogs, wimpies and hamburgers will be available for purchase. And you can bet there will be plenty of beverages on hand.

A special, newly organized feature will be provided at this year’s event. A kids’ corner for those 14 years of age and under will give the younger set something fun to participate in while their parents play bingo. The kids’ corner, including games, prizes and crafts, begins at the same time that the bingo event opens.

Arcurie and the other volunteers look forward to the frenzy of the bingo fundraiser. They consider it to be a fitting memorial for a happy friend.

Bingo Lottery: 85-Year-Old Becomes a Millionaire

Tenacious is the middle name of Doris Hoag. That Garrettsville, NY resident won $1 million after years of purchasing daily Lottery tickets.

The Daily Lottery Purchaser

Hoag is a fiercely stubborn lady. She has followed the same daily routine forever: A short drive to Oneonta, NY for breakfast, and then a stop at the local Quickway for Lottery tickets. That is her winning combo. Tenacious is the middle name of Doris Hoag. That Garrettsville, NY resident won $1 million after years of purchasing daily Lottery tickets. On the morning of July 17, 2012, Hoag bought three Cash Bingo scratch-off tickets. The middle one was a winner.

She gave the third ticket to her sister, as Hoag had no further need of it. With the successful ticket in tow, Hoag drove to Schenectady to present her claim to the Customer Service Center of the Lottery. State lottery officials have confirmed that Hoag will receive the net of her jackpot after taxes are withheld. Hoag had developed a lottery philosophy: If ever she won big, she would consider herself even and stop buying Bingo Lottery tickets. She has not bothered to add up the total cost of the years of daily tickets.

Lottery Aid to Education

 In answer to the many queries concerning the details as to where the lottery profits are going, officials of the state lottery have released their fiscal year 2011-2012 data. The huge sum of $10,451,063 has been donated by the New York Lottery to the Otsego County school districts. An 85-year-old Bingo millionaire is created; school districts are supported; and the thrill and magnetic appeal of the state lottery continues. Everyone wins.

Online Bingo Paying out Winnings

Glitches abound in everyday life. Online Bingo payouts are no exception. Winning is exhilarating! However, withdrawing online Bingo winnings can at times be frustrating. The most common sources of hassles that may arise, concern security precautions, technical slip-ups at the Bingo site, and player miscalculations. When establishing an account, the player is required to provide email address, name and bank account information. Identity proof is often requested when a large pot is involved. Proof of ID can easily be established with data from the player’s driver’s license, birth certificate or passport.

The requirement of identification is simply a policy of Bingo sites for the purpose of ensuring that withdrawals are being tendered to the correct player. Difficulties can occur through errors at the online site, resulting in the receipt of less winnings than the player was entitled to. That same perception of under-funding can crop up when players make mathematical mistakes and think that their pot is larger than it actually is.

Every Bingo site provides a customer service department to handle player glitches. The recourse for any withdrawal problem is to immediately contact customer services. All sites provide email and land addresses as well as a phone number at which the proper department can be reached. Players have a second source for answers: The chatroom. Some sites also provide a real time chat feature, where the player can obtain an immediate response concerning a frustrating issue. Online Bingo is exciting; winning is the best; and luckily, glitches are minimal and easily resolved.

The Italian Bingo Craze

Bingo is a popular game that is played by many people all over the world – in bingo halls and online. The origins of bingo may date back to early 16th century Italy. The Italian National Lottery featured a game called Gioco del Lotto d’Italia. Now, bingo has grown to one of the most popular games in the world. It is not just for little old ladies anymore, people of all ages and genders enjoy the game.

Bingo Revolution

The popularity of bingo grew dramatically when online bingo sites were created. These online bingo sites offer free and real money play, interaction and are full of entertainment. Players have the opportunity to win big cash prizes while playing bingo from the comfort of their own home. Players can find a variety of entertaining and themed bingo sites that offer great bonuses and promotions. There are also many types of online bingo games available for play including the popular 75 and 90 ball bingo. Players only need to sign up at an online bingo site and then sit back and enjoy the game anywhere with an internet connection.

Italian-Themed Bingo

The St. Rocco Italian Fest will feature great Italian food and plenty of bingo for everyone to enjoy. The St. Rocco Italian Fest takes place in Ishpeming at the Al Quaal Recreation Area. Volunteers have helped set up tables and tents for the last 15 years but the festival has taken place for over 100 years. Every year, the festival offers great Italian food, free pony rides for children and bingo. Participants say that the Italian Fest is always fun and filled with plenty of bingo along with mostaccioli, meatballs and spaghetti. The Potawatomi Bingo Casino is finally re-opening its Italian restaurant that has been closed since 2009. The Wild Earth Cucina Italiana is expected to open at the beginning of September.

There has been a change in menu and design of the restaurant. Originally, the restaurant featured Wisconsin-style food and décor but it has now been renovated and redecorated to a cozy Italian restaurant. Customers will find an open kitchen, stone pillar, a bar and a private dining room that holds 12 people. The restaurant will have a completely new and unique feel that is much different from the original Wild Earth. Customers are invited to preview dishes from the menu and enjoy a few games of bingo at the casino.

The menu has been inspired by regional Italian style cooking as well as Italian-American cooking. Some of the featured dishes include spaghetti with chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, mushrooms and asparagus sauce, pancetta, flatbread with shrimp and fresh mozzarella with arugula. The bar will feature 40 Italian beers, cocktails and wines. Customers are invited to play some bingo and visit the new restaurant which is open for dinner from Wednesday to Sunday.

The Debate about Real Money Facebook Bingo

The debate about real money Facebook bingo has begun!

Bingo and Facebook have been featured in the news recently beginning with the announcement that Facebook will now work with Gamesy, a London gaming developer, to create a Facebook based bingo site called Bingo Friendzy. Because Bingo Friendzy is a real money bingo site, there has been some public concern about children accessing the site. Some people even believe that this site will actually target and advertise to children. The question is are people overreacting or is real money Facebook bingo a genuine concern that needs to be addressed.

Facebook and Bingo

Facebook is used by millions of people worldwide, many of which are children who are under the legal gambling age so it is natural that people would be concerned about children having access to real money games. However, there are already many real money bingo sites that use Twitter and Facebook to promote themselves so is Bingo Friendzy doing anything worse or different? Zynga’s Slingo Bingo has been on Facebook and has been available for play for quite some time. Although this game is not available in real money play, it may introduce children to ‘soft gambling’ or gambling with no real funds at stake.

Facebook Bingo Fan Pages

There is also the issue of fan pages on Facebook. There are no age controls that stop users who are under the legal gambling age to ‘like’ a page and click the link that takes them to a real money bingo site. However, the Bingo Friendzy site uses advanced age control software, like geo-location and age-gating technology to ensure that no one under the legal gambling age or in a country where online gambling is illegal can view or access the site. Twitter and Facebook fan pages do not have such restrictions.

People then must ask themselves if bingo and other gambling sites use the proper controls, should they still be banned. Also, if real money bingo is advertised on television, does this mean this practice should be stopped as well? Many people think Facebook bingo games are simply another way for them to enjoy playing their favorite game. On the other hand, there are people who believe that these security measures are not enough if they are backed by a social media site. The debate continues as to whether or not these social media real money bingo games pose a threat to children under the legal gambling age.

Bingo Gaming Falls Short of Expectations in Italy

Despite the struggling Italian economy, people are still hoping to hit that big jackpot that may lurk on every street corner. In a neighborhood located near the ancient Roman walls, players can enjoy bingo and slot machines at a gambling parlor that was once a movie theater. This parlor is complete with a bar, tobacco shop, video betting games, horse race betting, bingo, lottery tickets and scratch cards. Italy is Europe’s largest gambling market and one of the largest in the world which weakens consumer spending during a time of economic crisis.

Italian Bingo Problems

Bingo, as well as other forms of gambling, as started to create many problems for the Italian government and operators alike. A Christian charity located in Rome called Sant’Edigio, has seen an increase in problem gamblers since Italy began loosening its gambling regulations as gambling addicts pour into the parlors each day. Initially, the de-regulation was welcome as many thought this would reduce the power of organized crime syndicates and increase state revenue. However, revenues have only slightly risen since 2001 while the turnover has quadrupled. The mob is also adapting to the de-regulation as it is moving its operations to legal gambling ventures. Many Italian lawmakers are now starting to believe that the deregulation has gotten out of control and some regulation should be reinstated.

The Start of Bingo Deregulation

The deregulation of bingo and other types of gambling started in 2991 when Italy was in desperate need of additional revenue during the economic crisis similar to the one that Italy is facing today. Last year, the Italian government received approximately 8.5 million euros in tax revenues but this number has only increased by 3 billion euros from 2001 to 2011 while consumer gambling spending has increased by 60 billion euros. There is a 21% sales tax on most consumer goods, excluding food, but gambling operators are subject to much lower taxes as an incentive. The tax on gambling revenue was less than 11% in 2011. Experts believe that the Italian economy will shrink by 2% this year but revenue from gambling is expected to increase by more than 12% to over 90 billion euros. This figure makes up approximately 5% of Italy’s annual GDP. It is estimate that the gaming industry in Italy has generated about ¼ of the world’s entire $368 million in gaming revenue in 2010.

The Effects of Bingo Deregulation

Unlike companies that product consumer goods, bingo and other gaming operations do not create wealth but simply redistribute it. The car company Fiat generated less than half of the income that the gaming industry did in 2011 but the production of cars supports many other industries that help create more than 10 times the amount of Italian jobs that the gaming industry does. In a time of economic recession, additional consumer spending is needed to compensate for it but when consumers spend more money on gambling, they are less likely to buy consumer goods. Before the deregulation of Italian gambling began, there were only lotteries and soccer game betting. Other gambling activities were only allowed in the 4 legal casinos in Venice, Campion d’Italia, Saint Vincent and San Remo. The state concessions buyers were given a low tax rate that allowed them to set high percentage payouts to peak interest in new games. This means that a player would get small payouts that gave the illusion that the odds could be beat.

This has resulted in more than 700,000 gambling addicts in Italy and the 400,000 Italian video slot machines make up more than half of all the betting that takes place in Italy. This has caused much concern to many people because it has been made so easy for gamblers to play anywhere. For gambling addicts, this means greater access to their addiction which leads many of them to incur large debts, become estranged from family and even lose their homes. People who have been affected by gambling addiction believe that Italian gambling halls need to be shut down completely and all video and slot machines need to be destroyed. The Italian gambling environment has made it even more difficult for addicts because there are very few places that do not offer gambling. It seems that the deregulation of gambling in Italy has caused even more economic and social problems than it has fixed.

Old Greyhound Station May Become Bingo Center in Guam

Over 4,500 signatures were reviewed by the Guam Election Commission according to the director of the GEC, Maria Pangelinan. The advocates of the for-profit Bingo initiative, the Guam Japan Friendship Village hope to legalize for-profit Bingo and open a Bingo facility at the former Greyhound facility in Tamuning. After the signatures are certified by the commission, a ballot title must be presented and certified 90 days prior to the election in November. Many people are in favor of the initiative.

Legalizing Bingo in Guam – Due Process

Maria Pangelinan, GEC director, was not at liberty to determine at this point whether or not the Bingo initiative will make it onto the November election ballot. She was able to speak in general as to the process that must ensue now that the signatures on the petitions have been reviewed. Following certification, a ballot title must be assigned and the initiative must be certified 90 days prior to the November election. In the event that there are arguments to be made for, as well as against, the Bingo initiative then a brochure will be mailed to all voters describing both sides of the initiative. The commission’s legal counsel will prepare a timeline and validate the initiative to include it in the election.

Hard Work May See Bingo Initiative Through

Pangelinan expressed enthusiasm about being a part of this process to get the Bingo initiative on the election ballots. She said that reviewing the 4,713 signatures was no easy task but that it is a way for the people to voice their opinion and desire in the matter. The initiative, submitted by the Guam Friendship Japan Friendship Village in May would ultimately legalize for-profit Bingo in Tamuning and allow them to proceed with plans of turning the old Greyhound facility into a Bingo Hall.

The number of signatures received by the GEC represents at least 10% of the registered voters so the deal is essentially in the ‘hands’ of the legal counsel. Once a timeline is prepared, says Pangelinan, “we’ll go from there”. The bottom line is that the Bingo initiative is one formal step closer to reality and the possibility of legal Bingo in Guam could be as close as this November. Clearly many people are in favor of the initiative and Pangelinan feels that if that many people are in favor of the initiative then it should move forward.