And Bingo was the Game-O: Bingo restriction changes on ballot

Reese Bentzinger
Editorial Assistant
Northeast News

Bingo, a game that usually brings to mind family nights and retirement homes, has not been viewed as innocently in the eyes of the law. This is because it falls under the definition of gambling, and until 1980 it was entirely illegal in the state of Missouri.

When bingo was legalized, restrictions were put in place. If a licensed organization wants to host a bingo-related event, it must be held by a person who’s been in the organization for at least two years. Bingo events are also limited in how much they can advertise.

Amendment 4, an issue on the upcoming ballot, hopes to loosen the restrictions placed on bingo. A vote in favor of the amendment would make restrictions on bingo advertising no longer applicable. In addition, a member of a licensed organization would have to only be a member for six months, rather than two years, to host the game.

The main champions of the amendment are Citizens for Bingo, who have donated more than $1,000 toward the issue. As of now there have been no groups formed to oppose it.

Currently, bingo games are allowed to be hosted by organizations as long as they are approved by the Missouri General Assembly and pay a license fee. In order to qualify, an organization has to be existing for at least five years and have at least 20 members. Games can only be conducted to benefit the greater community or certain organizations, with profits not being allowed to be given to people or organizations.

The issue will be on the November 6 ballot. For more information and official ballot language, visit https://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/petitions/2018BallotMeasures.

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