Opposition to Bingo?
Bingo has been one of the most popular and socially acceptable forms of gaming in the United States for decades. Traditionally bingo games have been operated by charitable organizations and churches. In the US and the UK bingo halls have been sprouting up everywhere. In the UK due to a national smoking ban many bingo halls are finding themselves in financial straits.
Most people do not categorize bingo with casino gaming and the statistics bear this out. Bingo halls do not attract a criminal element and given the price of bingo cards and the rather small jackpots, problem gamblers are not attracted to bingo. Online bingo is one of, if not the most, popular forms of gaming online. With its popularity both land based and online, social acceptability, and lack of criminality associated with bingo, it is surprising whenever opposition to the game occurs.
In Marion County, South Carolina, a tiny but vocal minority has been trying to block the establishment of a Bingo hall to be operated by the Catawba Indian Tribe. The opposition comes despite the fact that Marion County residents spend $10,637,019.50 every year on the state lottery. Some of the opposition came from Southern Baptists which is odd because the Southern Baptist retirement system Guidestone owns stock in corporations that maintain casinos.
The same old arguments against gaming were trotted out but in the end the County council decided to approve the bingo hall. The new bingo hall is expected to provide both jobs and revenue for a county with high unemployment. Most of the arguments against were religion based which has become a disturbing trend in the past decade.
No one is forcing people into this establishment but there are those out there who seem to feel a need to dictate how the rest of us should live. This has become a disturbing trend in recent years. The tactics used by some anti-gaming advocates are much more immoral than gaming itself could ever hope to be. The most glaring example of this would be the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement of 2006.
This piece of legislation was added to the Port Security Act at the last minute, presented to congress fifteen minutes before the bill came to the floor of the House with no time for debate in a late night session. Most legislators said later that they had no idea that this addition was added to the Port Security Act. The bill was designed to pander to a tiny but vocal minority.
Online Bingo players have since noticed that some sites are now blocked to US players causing no end of consternation. Whether land based or online players need to make their displeasure known. In the case of Marion County, South Carolina, the county council allowed the establishment of the tribal bingo hall due to the efforts of an informed public that finally stood their ground and said “enough is enough!” While opponents dominated the hearings, letters to the editor of the local paper and phone calls had the desired effect. It is high time the majority stands up to those who would dictate how we live our lives and how we choose to spend our hard earned dollars.
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