Local News

Ruling allows remote caller bingo as fundraiser

By From page A3 | December 13, 2012

State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, is praising a decision by a Sacramento Superior Court judge enabling greater use of remote caller bingo, a fundraising tool for nonprofit organizations throughout the state.

The ruling late last week affirmed the court’s tentative decision to require the California Gambling Control Commission to continue the regulation of the game, allowing its continued use.

“I am very pleased that the court has ruled in favor of the nonprofits such as churches, schools and veterans organizations that benefit from this innovative fundraising tool and sincerely hope that the commission will finally begin to act in good faith to get this program up and running,” Wolk said. She has worked to make it easier for nonprofits to raise funds using remote caller bingo.

Remote caller bingo links traditional bingo games statewide utilizing a technology that allows nonprofits and churches to increase the number of players and the size of jackpots while reducing overhead costs, thereby helping nonprofits raise much more money for vital services.

Wolk carried two measures — Senate Bills 340 and 383 — over the past two years to require the Gambling Control Commission to continue the program and streamline the regulations. However, after passing the Senate, the bills were held in the Assembly. The Gambling Control Commission put the game on hold, claiming fiscal constraints, and stopped issuing new licenses for nonprofits to play earlier this year pending the outcome of the court’s decision.

The ruling essentially implements the goals of Wolk legislation, requiring the commission to continue the program — allowing the 18 organizations currently licensed to operate remote caller bingo games throughout the state to continue, and permitting more than 100 new applicants to be licensed to play the game.

“Between March of 2011 and September of 2012, California nonprofits raised $908,000 utilizing this great American pastime. In the same period, the American Legion in Dixon raised $106,000,” Wolk said. “They’ve used those funds to support Dixon High School sports and recreational programs, veteran services, boys and girls clubs and other local programs.”

Enterprise staff

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