Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Gambling Opponents (that's us!) Criticize Electric Bingo

This article from the Associated Press appeared in the San Jose Mercury News on Monday. As you can see we are NOT going to let them sneak anything through this loophole. Gambling machines are gambling machines, no matter how they are built, maintained, operated or provide revenue to their owners. We need to continue to make our voice heard until they remove these machines.
SAN PABLO, Calif. - Electronic bingo machines may be popular with gamblers, but they've raised the ire of critics who claim they are slot machines in disguise.

The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians on Monday began offering 500 electronic bingo machines, the first in the state, at its Casino San Pablo. The tribe was previously rebuffed in its efforts to turn its cardroom into a Las Vegas-style casino, and the machines are seen by many as a way to entice more gamblers.

"They're still one-armed bandits. They're still raking in dough at players' expense. There's no difference," said Dean Marshall, a nine-year San Pablo resident and co-chair of the East Bay Coalition Against Urban Casinos.

Critics say the video terminals look, sound and act like slot machines. They say they'll also lead to the same problems: crime, traffic, and addictive gambling.

"Technology has created a loophole big enough to drive a truck through in that these electronic bingo machines really are slot machines, and they are totally unregulated," said Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley.

But Casino San Pablo spokesman Doug Elmets said electronic bingo and slot machines are "inherently different."

Elmets said video bingo players play against each other and not the house, though the house takes a cut. The bingo machines also "operate more slowly and generate substantially less revenue" than slot machines, he said.

The Lytton initially proposed building a casino with as many as 5,000 slot machines on the site of its cardroom near Interstate 80. The tribe couldn't rally enough support for a casino in the state legislature.