Bingo Banned at Wal-Mart
By Earl
Although the bingo played by seniors in Wal-Mart’s 50 stores across the state of Pennsylvania involves no pay-out (except for small complementary gifts from the store) and no pay-in, just fun, it’s been disallowed in Pennsylvania as the lower house of the legislature has deemed it a gambling activity outside of a proper gaming venue. The state allows race tracks, Atlantic City, other gaming, and relies on $923 million a year it gets for its take on the state lottery. But not free bingo.

“All these legislators talk the talk about how they're concerned for and work to improve the lives of senior citizens,” said one of their opponents, State Representative Camille `Bud’ George, a Democrat from Clearfield. “Well, the Grinches won today's vote. And Pennsylvania is safe from seniors playing free bingo at Wal-Mart or any other retailer,” he said.

Wal-Mart has conducted free bingo for seniors for years. Wal-Mart spokesman Tom Williams said the bingo games were actually started by senior citizens themselves. The numbers were sometimes called by a store sales associate, but more often by a senior citizen. “It was a social hour for them. They enjoyed it and we enjoyed it because they're our customers,” Williams said. “The seniors are not happy about it [ending] and we're not happy about it either. It's very unfortunate.”

Reacting to a complaint by one unnamed citizen, the Republican majority in the House axed bingo for seniors at Wal-Marts. The vote was 106 to 92.

 
 
 
 
 
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