Charities Say State Can’t Seize Bingo Games

     SACRAMENTO (CN) – Two disabled bingo players and United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Sacramento say the state’s threat to seize electronic bingo games used to raise money for charity violates the American with Disabilities Act.

     California’s Bureau of Gambling Control served cease-and-desist orders on bingo parlors in Berkeley and Sacramento in May, claiming their electronic bingo devices violated state laws. The state said that if the games were not removed within 30 days, it would seize them and prosecute.
     But plaintiff Robert Foss, who is blind, says he cannot play bingo for charity without machine assistance. He cannot compete even with Braille bingo cards, he says, as the difficulty of doing so prevents him from winning.
     Plaintiff Joan Sebastiani, who is paralyzed on the left side of her body from a stroke, says she enjoys bingo but cannot play it without electronic help.
     Video Gaming Technologies and WIND Youth Services also are plaintiffs.
     “These bingo facilities allow qualified charitable organizations, such as plaintiffs WIND and UCP, to raise critical funds by hosting bingo fund-raiser events using electronic bingo aids,” the complaint states. It adds that the California Constitution allows charity bingo, and so do Alameda and Sacramento Counties.
     Represented by Matthew Jacobs with DLA Piper, plaintiffs demand declaratory judgment, a restraining order and costs.

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