Does anyone know the true answer to this question. We had a bingo night last year (02-03 school year) it was fun and a great turn out, but this year our prez for some reason reseached it and says that it is illegal for us to unless we get some kind of gaming permit. we are in so california. I can kinda of see where the permit would come in, but come on we are giving away $5 Mcdonalds gift certificates not $500. She had printed out some stuff but it was all in government lingo and all we could understand was must be 18 years of age to play. Does anyone know anything about this..I would love to have bingo night again, but know if it is illegal for us to do there would be someone call in and have us shut down. Thanks
You do need a liscense to play bingo. They have a specific bingo liscense you get from your state when you have each event. You typically also need to pay a fee which is usually around $10 to your town for a liscense from them as well. It can depend on where you live. The best way for you to find out is to go to your town hall and ask and let them give you the information.
I do not think it matters what prizes you are awarding. If people are paying for their boards and taking a chance on winning it is gambling. Will some one report you and shut you down? Maybe not, but you would be taking a chance. Especially more so since someone advised you of this.
You can use other town organizations gaming liscences, such as the Knights of Colombus or VFW. Most of those types of organizations have gaming liscences and will allow other organizations to use them free of charge, typically you need to just advertise that they are sponsoring the event for you.
The best and easiest way to know what you need to do is go to your town clerk and ask them what you need and how to apply for any liscenses. You can also check out your state website as they usually have links for things of that nature.
Don't know about So Cal, but here in Jersey "gaming," no matter the size, is taken seriously, and the state has been known to send people to check out events. It can be a pain, but just remember--YOU know you're honest, but not everyone else does. And not everyone else is either--the license is just a paper trail to let people know who's responsible for collecting and depositing the money, and collecting and distributing the prizes.
You wouldn't think something as basic and simple as bingo could be so...restricted! But it is!
Check with city officals first, why? Well, my thinking is they would know ALL the hoops you need to jump through to get it going and have fun, leaglly!
Now, I would also come clean about last year and ask what you should have done or now need to do so your income(be it taxable or not) can be claimed leagally.
Now, useing other clubs or groups licenses can be sticky,( just another aspect or question to ask). The reason I'm not comfortable with this because another club my husband and I are members of do this. We work at a bingo hall once a month with four other groups. One club owns the licence. Were we ran into trouble was this fall the Attorney General questioned the way the revenue was being distributed and spent. Now fortunatly, everything had been very well documented but still opened our eyes! The club did change the way "we do business", but it's something to think about. I know I "yadda-yadda" a lot of the story but none the less, nothing is worse than finding out what you were doing wasn't exatly legal!
I can't speak for other states but in New Mexico as long as you do only one per year you do not need to have a license or permit. I researched it for a fundraiser last year. You can go to your state's web site and search for the info there.
Our Charity Gaming Commission rules say if we think we will bring in under 1000bucks then we just need to send them a letter stating officer and chairperson info, when and where the event takes place..info like that. If it's over 1000bucks we send in 10bucks and fill out a form to get a license. Btw I'm in Indiana