On foot on numerous representations that I have received regarding possible changes to the running of bingo by community groups across the Country, I have been engaging directly with Minister of State, David Stanton.
Below I’m attaching a briefing note which he provided to me. He has also stated that while a community group/charity who are running their own bingo event, must only give out 50% of their takings on any one night, it is open to them to top up the prize money from previous takings.
So, for example-
The local parish hall committee normally gives out €1100 in prize money after taking in €1400 in the sale of books.
Under the new law, they will take in €1400 in the sale of books and give out €700 of this in prize money. They must put the balance of other €700, having paid expenses, into their bank account.
However, they can top up the €700 in prize money with €400 from their takings on previous weeks, so the pay-out remains the same.
Minister Stanton has said that the reason that he is making these changes is to stop purely commercial companies taking over the running of bingos across the Country, and that this has already happened in some urban areas, forcing community bingos out of business.
I will be raising these concerns again with Minister Stanton in the Dáil tomorrow and I hope that he will provide the clarity that is needed for many anxious bingo goers around the Country.
Briefing note from Minister Stanton: