International edition
September 19, 2020

Legalized, for-profit gambling is undercutting profits at bingo games

Pennsylvania bingo faces tough competition

(US).- The pots might get sweeter soon at the local bingo game. But according to the firefighters who rely on such games of chance to pay bills - as well as a Carnegie Mellon University research team - legislation proposed to more than double the allowable payouts at bingo games can’;t trump the power of real casinos.

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egalized, for-profit gambling is undercutting profits at bingo games, a recent graduate study at Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz School of Public Policy found. Bingo doesn’t offer the fancy, glamorous appeal of casinos, which now are closer to home, said CMU professor Robert P. Strauss, who oversaw the study.

To help fire halls compete, state representative Don Walko, introduced a bill that would increase maximum daily bingo payouts from us$ 4,000 to us$ 10,000 and up the number of bingo games per week allowed from two to four. After passing 180-18, the legislation awaits Senate approval.

Mary Savage runs the bingo games twice a week at the Houston American Legion Post 902, near The Meadows in North Strabane. She predicts 10 or maybe 20 more players would join the 111 she had Wednesday night if the payout could be increased to us$ 10,000. But it would take 200 to 250 players a night to cover such a payout, she said.

To support bigger pots, she said she’d have to increase the price per bingo card. A book of six cards costs us$ 15 at Savage’s games. The second book is us$ 10. She said two books might cost up to us$ 40 with the larger payouts.

Players surveyed by Carnegie Mellon said they will go to the Majestic Star once it opens on the North Shore, and won’t go back to bingo.

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