Bill aimed at modernizing PA Bingo Law passes House

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HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved Rep. Kate Klunk’s (R-Hanover) legislation to bring Pennsylvania’s antiquated Bingo Law up to date.

A quirk in the current law, which was enacted in 1981, forbids community organizations from advertising the dollar value of cash prizes. Klunk’s House Bill 411 would remove that and allow organizations to advertise on the internet and through social media.

“A lot has changed since the Bingo Law was enacted, especially the value of the dollar,” Klunk said. “Increasing cash prizes will help these valuable community organizations attract new players.”

Prize limits would be increased from $250 to $500 for any one game of bingo; from $2,000 to $4,000 for jackpot games; and from $4,000 to $8,000 for total amount of prizes awarded in a calendar day.

“By increasing the prize limits, additional interest in bingo games will be generated, attracting more players. That, in turn, will lead to greater revenue for these civic organizations that help our communities through charitable endeavors” Klunk said. “These groups have asked the Legislature to give them the ability to offer bigger prizes and to use modern technology to retain and attract new players.”

Additionally, Klunk’s bill would remove restrictions on the number of days a licensed association may conduct bingo games, permit pre-draw bingo, allow for guest callers and allow new members of a licensed association to assist in the operation of bingo.

The legislation also includes a provision that would allow a volunteer fire company created from the merger of two or more companies to be immediately eligible for a bingo license. Under current law, the fire company has to wait two years before becoming eligible.

Klunk’s bill was unanimously approved by the House Gaming Oversight Committee last month. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.