Saturday, April 04, 2009

California charities warned to end electronic bingo, by Peter Hecht - The Sacramento Bee - 4th April 2009

The state attorney general's office is warning charitable bingo parlors to stop using casino-style machines after a federal appeals court ruled the games are illegal.

In a ruling March 27, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said a new state law that took effect Jan. 1 effectively bans charities from using the electronic games.

Doug Bergman, president of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Sacramento, said the group will go back to the U.S. District Court in Sacramento and file additional motions in a last-ditch effort to stop state and county authorities from shutting down the games.

United Cerebral Palsy uses electronic bingo to raise money for programs that promote independence and productivity for people with developmental disabilities.

It was continuing to operate the games under a court injunction – now overturned by the 9th Circuit.

Jacob Appelsmith, chief of the attorney general's Bureau of Gambling Control, said state lawyers have told bingo halls "that their clients must begin removing the illegal gambling machines from their gambling establishments."

The United Auburn Tribe, operator of the Thunder Valley Casino in Placer County, threatened last year to withhold tens of millions of dollars of revenue-sharing payments to California if the charity groups continued to operate the games. (Credit:
The Sacramento Bee)

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