Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 8, 2013

Penny Bingo group loses to state fee



Marlene McCormick was saddened. Her senior-citizens Penny Bingo Club has folded because it didn’t have money to get a state permit to operate.

The New York Gaming Commission said the ladies must pay a $450 fee to the state, and the Penny Bingo Club said that was too much of a pinch on their limited funds.

“It’s a sin because that’s your only enjoyment when you get old,” McCormick said.

Lee Park, director of communications at the New York State Gaming Commission, said the law would require that this group pay $18.75 every time it holds penny bingo. Because it is a game of chance, it must be regulated in accordance with New York law, Park said.

Plattsburgh Housing Authority Executive Director Lori Cantwell said the ladies were overwhelmed and didn't want to deal with the commission’s rules and regulations.

Penny bingo is not a game where one can win large sums of money, club member Lucille Wilkins noted. When someone wins, she or he earns pennies, which may go back into the next game or be kept by the players.

Wilkins said there was no warning, other than word that they must get a permit. “I’ve been playing bingo for 32 years, and I can’t see why we need to pay a state tax to play,” Wilkins said.