Bingo Not To Be Messed With Senate Hears

By Ben Hamill - May 20 2021
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Bingo Not To Be Messed With Senate Hears

Monday saw a possible deadlock situation emerge with regard to changes in state rules over Bingo in Florida. While Senators considered everything from the establishment of an official gaming authority governing the state to laws that would regulate fantasy sports, Bingo seemed something of an untouchable topic.

While the Senate measure would have it that Bingo be expanded to pari-mutuel facilities, as well as up to 350 electronic card minders being permitted in such a facility during any given game, several others, including Sen. George Gainer, on Monday prompted the committee to quit “messing with Bingo”.

Bingo has long been a firm social fixture in the state and a much-needed source of income for charity organisations and churches. Gainer said during Monday’s deliberations that he saw no sense in the sweeping of low-dollar Bingo games for charitable purposes into a session called for the implementation of a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida – which compact is valued at $2.5 billion. 

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Changes Coming To Sportsbooks

An important bill on the table is that of the establishment of the Florida Gaming Control Commission. To be served by a group made up of five salary-earning members appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, such a commission would regulate all gambling in the state. This would include slot machine facilities, cardrooms, and pari-mutuel betting.

Significant, however, is that the commission, once formed, would not have any say or authority over the Seminole Tribe of Florida. If approved, a gaming compact reached between DeSantis and the Tribe will allow the latter to be the sole and exclusive operator of all sportsbooks in the state for the next three decades.

Charity Bingo Declared Safe

As for any new Bingo regulations and changes to the way games are currently being administrated, the fate of the Senate’s Bingo bill remains in the balance and very much unclear.

Said Sen. Travis Hutson, who is the sponsor of the bill, on Monday, the idea is to allow Bingo games as well as Instant Bingo to be conducted at pari-mutuel facilities. Furthermore, regulating these facilities will remain the responsibility of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

Hutson however made it very clear that said changes to the rules and regulations would not in any way affect or apply to charity Bingo. Only for-profit Bingo will be made subject to the provisions of the new bill, if indeed successfully passed, said the senator.

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