Eyewitness

Time capsule: Grandmas just wanna play bingo

The Star

Originally published Feb. 2, 1973

In 1973 the Kansas Legislature took up the issue of whether to keep bingo legal. Two years before the Legislature had legalized bingo games sponsored by churches and charitable, fraternal and patriotic groups. The problem was that by definition, bingo could also legally be considered gambling or a lottery (it has a prize, a fee is involved, and winners are determined by chance).

So demonstrators representing various fraternal orders and veterans organizations, and people who just liked to play bingo, protested in the Kansas Statehouse. The group of about 100 attempted to persuade the Legislature to vote for a constitutional amendment on bingo.

A few days later, on Feb. 5, the Legislature defeated a move to put bingo legalization to a public vote.

Coincidentally, there is currently a bill (SB 262) in the Legislature regarding charitable gaming and the regulation of bingo and raffles. The bill amends previous legislation.

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