Home Online bingo Bingo charities say online bingo is becoming a problem

Bingo charities say online bingo is becoming a problem

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SAN JUAN, Texas (KVEO) – Bingo halls statewide are asking for help with games played on Facebook.

Texas Charitable Bingo is a half billion dollar industry annually, providing value to local charities.

Since the start of the pandemic, those charity dollars have dropped dramatically because of the bingo bandits.

When the pandemic hit many completely closed rooms, that’s when officials say they saw an increase in the number of online games.

“So people started looking for alternative things and one of those alternative things is that we found online games on Facebook,” says Tom Stewart, executive director of Texas Charity Advocates.

Each year, approximately $ 32 million is generated for Texas charities. Texas Charity Advocates, which makes up about a third of all licensed charity bingo halls in the state, say it’s hard to measure the losses, but they add up.

“You start to eat there no matter what, especially with the illegal competition putting pressure on these local charities, and it diminishes the value they can have and provide to local communities all over Texas. ”Says Stewart.

Statewide bingo revenues for charities will fall by about 25 percent, while a local hall here in the Rio Grande Valley reports a 50 percent drop.

“It’s obviously exacerbated by the online gambling that we see on Facebook, where people play online bingo on Facebook. They open zippers on Facebook, ”said Richard Bunkley, COO, Littleton Group.

The Rio Grande Valley Make-A-Wish Foundation is one of those charities that has seen donations plummet.

“These profits go to nonprofits and we charities are really hurting right now. Not just Make-A-Wish, all of us, ”says Ava Sandlin, Executive Director, Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Rio Grande Valley.

Local bingo halls tried to make up for lost revenue by setting up car bingo and recently held a raffle for a car. All of this in an effort to keep the money coming for charities.

Texas Charity Advocates says the loss of income is damaging the community and wants to bring the issue to the attention of Facebook and local law enforcement.

“Say you know it’s a problem, it’s a problem, help us try to solve it,” says Stewart.

“What I would love to see is Facebook put an end to illegal online gambling, illegal bingo, illegal drawbars, or the Texas Lottery Commission to step in and help Texas charities protect them. illegal competitors online, ”says Bunkley. .

KVEO reached out to Facebook, which said in a statement that the groups were against company policy and had recently removed some pages.

We are constantly looking for content, groups and pages that violate our community standards. We rely on automation as well as a team of 15,000 human content reviewers.

Facebook company spokesperson

Complaints have also been filed with the Texas Lottery Commission, which oversees Texas Charitable Bingo. We reached out to see if anything was done to help, they said in a statement.

The Charitable Bingo Operations Division reviews online bingo cases. As these cases remain under investigation, we cannot comment further on them at this time.

Lauren Callahan, spokesperson for the Texas Lottery Commission

The commission also claims that the law does not allow the conduct of online bingo and that unlicensed bingo is considered a crime.

We also reached out to Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez to see if anything could be done locally.

Rodriguez says his office heard more about this type of activity and agreed to an interview, but several attempts to schedule the interview were unsuccessful.

“If people see it, report it to Facebook. I mean, you know hell doesn’t have a fury like a despised bingo player. People have more power than they realize, ”says Stewart.

“If that doesn’t work, maybe the Lotter Commission could allow charities in Texas to do the same, maybe broadcast a game of bingo on Facebook Live. It looks like it might be an option if you can’t beat them, join them, ”says Bunkley.

Bingo officials say there is a statewide effort by lobby groups to contact Facebook and the Texas Lottery Commission in an attempt to resolve the issue.


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