Last December a judge in Sacramento California paved the way for the expansion of remote bingo games in the state. The games are linked using new technology and enables churches and charities top increase the size of their player pools. The networked games have higher jackpots and attract more players. The decision Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny removes doubts for 18 organizations operating ‘remote caller’ bingo games whether the state will renew their bingo licenses. About 100 organizations are in line for remote caller bingo licenses.
State officials had put a hold on issuing any new licenses but Judge Kenny ordered the Gambling Control Commission to resume issuing licenses. For St. Pius X Catholic Church in Chula Vista the decision is very good news. The church is the only charity in SanDiego County to offer remote caller bingo games. The church has been struggling with low player turnouts and small jackpots because so few charities are allowed to participate in the networked games. Henri Harb, who helps manage the Tuesday night bingo events for the church, stated “We’ve been holding off on promoting until there’s been some certainty” and said the decision was “fantastic news.”
The attraction of remote caller bingo is very simple; more players mean larger jackpots and more money for the charities participating in the games. The networked games are slightly more complicated than regular bingo games. The caller can be located hundreds of miles away and the calls are sent to monitors in bingo halls throughout the state. Competing players can be located in Chula Vista, Riverside or Sacramento. Ben Fox of Chula Vista is on the church’s finance committee. Fox said that while the Tuesday night games are not drawing large crowds he said that most players show up to support the parish and the games have raised about $12,000 for the church. Fox stated “I would hope it means we can do better in the future.”
Last year the Control Commission, which is in charge of issuing licenses, stopped accepting applications. The commission said the legislature had not given it the authority to spend money ion background checks. Judge Kenny stated “This is not a case of legal impossibility, but of present financial incapacity. Case law consistently has rejected the proposition that a state agency may justify noncompliance with a statutory mandate based on lack of funding.” Charities are hoping that the ruling will pave the way for the commission to address the backlog of 100 license applications for remote caller bingo.