Pennsylvania Bingo Bill passes with overwhelming majority

Pennsylvania Bingo Bill passes with overwhelming majority

Friday, May 12, 2017

May 9 saw the Pennsylvania House of Representatives overwhelmingly approve Representative Kate Klunk’s legislation to bring the state’s “antiquated” bingo law into the 21st century.

A quirk in the current law, which was enacted in 1981, forbids community organisations from advertising the dollar value of cash prizes. Klunk’s House Bill 411 would remove that and allow organisations to advertise on the internet and through social media.

The new legislation, which passed with a 192-2 majority, stipulates that prize limits would be increased from $250 to $500 for any one game of bingo; from $2,000 to $4,000 for jackpot games; and from $4,000 to $8,000 for total amount of prizes awarded in a calendar day.

“Our state’s bingo law was last updated at a time when newspapers were the number one source for information,” Representative Klunk told TotallyGaming.com. “Since then, technology has advanced, allowing social media – and the internet in general – to eclipse print media when it comes to people seeking out information. Sadly, the law has not kept pace.”

“My bill would bring the state’s bingo law into the 21st century by allowing associations, such as churches and fire departments that rely on bingo fundraisers for cash flow, to not only advertise games online, but to also post game prizes.”

In addition to the prize increases and opening up of online bingo advertising, Klunk’s bill would remove restrictions on the number of days a licensed association may conduct bingo games, permit pre-draw bingo, allow for guest callers and allow new members of a licensed association to assist in the operation of bingo.

The legislation also includes a provision that would allow a volunteer fire company created from the merger of two or more companies to be immediately eligible for a bingo license. Under current law, the fire company has to wait two years before becoming eligible.

“By increasing the prize limits, additional interest in bingo games will be generated, attracting more players,” Representative Klunk said. “That, in turn, will lead to greater revenue for these civic organisations that help our communities through charitable endeavours.

“For example, numerous fire departments host bingo games and, by creating more revenue, the need for them to ask for government assistance to purchase a new fire truck would decrease.”

Klunk’s bill was unanimously approved by the House Gaming Oversight Committee last month. After passing through the House of Representatives, it now goes to the Senate for consideration.

TotallyGaming says: Representative Klunk’s Bingo Bill is a win-win for all parties. The legislation would allow bingo organisers to generate more interest in their games through new advertising streams, while players will have the chance to win bigger cash prizes. In the same stroke, civic organisations will be able to generate additional revenues through these higher-profile fundraisers, putting less pressure on the state’s coffers.

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