Here’s what Ohioans need to know.
The Ohio Constitution generally prohibits gambling – but includes some exceptions. One of those exceptions is for instant bingo games conducted by charitable organizations that raise money for charitable causes. Under existing law, physical instant bingo games are conducted using paper tickets sold to participants either in person or using a ticket dispenser. A new bill that was recently introduced would allow organizations that currently offer those games to start using an electronic instant bingo device.
The bill requires the Attorney General to carefully monitor all electronic bingo devices and the organizations using them. However, there’s another important side to the story that also needs monitoring.
Electronic instant bingo players will be exposed to something much different than the traditional bingo game that most of us know. Players don’t have to call out “Bingo!” They just drop in their money and “Spin to Win.” If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a similar format and imagery used by games in casinos across the country.
Electronic instant bingo could represent a big expansion of gambling-type behavior in Ohio – and every gambling expansion should require the operators to engage in education and training around the issues of problem gambling.
Just like the bar and restaurant industry has training around responsible serving of alcohol, operators of electronic instant bingo games should understand responsible gambling practices. They can help by:
- Understanding how to prevent underage gambling.
- Knowing the warning signs that someone may be at risk.
- Dedicating funds to support problem gambling services.
- Including gambling helpline signage on all machines.
While many people are excited about electronic instant bingo games – our goal is to make sure that we move forward in a manner that keeps Ohioans safe. You can view information regarding House Bill 282 here.
For more responsible gambling education and resources, visit BeforeYouBet.org.