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Bingo-Less Town May Get In Game

19 August 2001

NEW PALTZ, New York: " – It's illegal here to play an American game steeped in fund-raising tradition and a staple at church hall functions.

"…`You can't have it,' said Carol Roper, New Platz supervisor. `You have to have a special law to permit it. We have a games-of-chance law, but it doesn't include bingo.'

" So, per a request from the Elks Club, the Town Board will hold a public hearing next month to put a referendum on the ballot and let the town voters decide.

"…Bingo was one of the first chance games legalized through an amendment to the state constitution nearly 50 years ago, said Stacy Walker, spokeswoman for the state Racing and Wagering Board.

" In fact, it's unusual, Walker said, to find a municipality in the state that has a law for games of chance and not for bingo.

" …Even if voters give a resounding `yes' to bingo this fall, it doesn't mean gaming halls will pop up all over, Walker said.

" …It's a very regulated industry right down to we have auditors who look at whether they're spending the money properly,' Walker said. `It's written so that charities can benefit from it, not as a profitable thing…"

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