Video bingo out of parish

Luling’s Video Bingo Palace shuts down

April 30, 2008 at 9:20 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Video bingo out of parish
Luling’s Video Bingo Palace closed its doors last Tuesday night, and no other video bingo business will be allowed to open in the parish again without permission from the St. Charles Parish Council.

That's because a parish ordinance approved by the outgoing council last year prohibits future video bingo establishments from opening in the parish unless they go before the council and receive a special use permit.

Because a special use permit is required, a public hearing must also be held to hear residents' concerns about the opening of a video bingo hall.

"There were 35 machines at the Luling Video Bingo Palace," Mike Legendre, director of charitable gaming for the state, said. "The machines are distributed to other video bingo parlors since the hall has closed down."

Legendre says sometimes they're placed in a warehouse, but that wouldn't benefit the owners of the machines. Legendre says  the total revenue of video bingo so far this year is $5,186,579 in Louisiana.

Out of that, $2,448,542 went to charitable organizations that participate with the video bingo halls.

According to the rules of charitable gaming for video bingo, a minimum of 45 percent of all proceeds has to go to charity. Video bingo is much like video poker in that users insert money into machines to play the games off a bingo card.

However, video bingo machines are used by sponsoring charities for fundraising purposes and are regulated under laws other than those controlling video poker.

Former Parish President Albert Laque vetoed an ordinance that would have put the hall out of business before it even opened. The veto was upheld and the hall was allowed to open in the parish.  

The Louisiana House of Representatives' Gambling Oversight Committee stopped a bill on June 20 that would have halted the spread of video bingo machines that closely resemble slots. 

The Senate voted 27-10 last May in favor of Sen. Mike Michot's bill, which he says was designed to stop the proliferation of the slot-like machines.

But the House Committee of Criminal Justice took the position that the proposal by Michot would have the impact of restricting charities from opting for the popular Cadillac Jack machines.

Charitable gaming through bingo has been legal for decades in Louisiana. About 15 years ago, legislators approved video bingo at charitable bingo games. Business owners who lease video poker machines complained, saying video bingo machines, which resemble slot machines, would hurt their business. 

So far, the growth of video bingo is occurring mainly in parishes that voted to outlaw video poker during local-option elections in 1996.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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