Lottery Delays New Bingo Rules

The Texas Lottery Commission postponed voting on a controversial measure that would let bingo players use "video confirmation" to show if they have a winning pull-tab ticket. Opponents said the bingo machines are too similar to slots. Supporters said the proposal could raise more money for charities by attracting more people to bingo halls.

Texas Lottery Commissioners recently delayed voting on a controversial proposal that would allow bingo players to use “video confirmation” to show if they have winning paper pull-tag tickets. The Texas Conservative Coalition legislative caucus asked lottery officials to reject measures that “would allow the outcome of pull-tab bingo games to have electronic, video or digital representation.” In response, Commission Chairman J. Winston Krause said the commission would “consider this rule at another time. We are not going to make it go away. We are going to defer it. We will come back to this at a later date.”

Opponents said the bingo machines are similar to slot machines and would lead to casino-style gambling. Supporters said the proposal could generate more money for Texas charities by attracting more people to bingo halls.

Lottery Commission spokeswoman Kelly Cripe said lottery officials do not consider video confirmation an expansion of legalized gambling. She said, “Video confirmation is the graphic and dynamic representation of the outcome of a pull-tab ticket, but video confirmation has no role in determining the ticket’s outcome.” She added the proposed rules would prevent the video machines from simulating “rolling or spinning wheels, dice or the play of casino-style games.”

Bingo sales in Texas reached a record high in 2011 with more than $700 million in sales and more than $533 million paid out to players, according to the Charitable Bingo Operations Division of the Lottery Commission. The proposal for video confirmation was submitted this year by K&B Sales and the Veterans of Foreign Wars-Department of Texas.