Bingo Company Takes Aim at California Ban

     (CN) – California’s ban on remote-controlled bingo machines has hurt the revenues of nonprofit groups that rely on them to provide charity services, a suit against the state’s gambling commission says.
     Bingo Innovations of California filed the complaint in Sacramento County Superior Court alongside a Desert Hot Springs chapter of the Elks lodge and that chapter’s “twice past exalted ruler,” Robert Rubio.
     Together they claim that California eliminated the right of charities to use electronic devices for bingo games in 2008, granting exclusive use to casinos on Native American reservations.
     California established a mitigation fund for charities to “ease the transition of remote control bingo,” and gave the Gambling Control Commission the ability to license remote caller bingo to certain charities, according to the complaint.
     But the commission allegedly “undertook its mandate reluctantly and with reticence.”
     “It adopted interim regulations only,” according to the complaint. “Despite its own regulation … providing for issuance of licenses in the absence of disqualifying factors or lack of local permitting, CGCC has since issued a management company license, but only 18 licenses for player sites.”
     “As a result of CGCC’s inconsistent approach and permitting inaction California charities are presently deprived of their Constitutional right of substantial sources of bingo revenue with which to provide charitable services in their communities,” the groups added.
     The gambling commission should “consider bingo site license applications and promptly approve those that qualify under its regulations,” according to the complaint.
     In 2009, the 9th Circuit lifted an order that blocked police in California from enforcing the ban on electronic bingo machines, finding that the state had repeatedly voted for tighter controls on gambling.

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