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Bingo Halls Help Public Schools

1 December 2004

CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Michigan – As reported by the Detroit News: "Senior citizen Darlene Murdoch is facing hip replacement surgery this month, but that didn't stop her from zipping from table to table recently to sell pull-tab lottery tickets to bingo players.

"She didn't get paid for her work. Murdoch is a volunteer at a weekly bingo game whose profits go to the athletic boosters club at L'Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Township.

"…L'Anse Creuse bingo, which started about 30 years ago in the school and now operates on Wednesday nights in a rented hall on Gratiot in Chesterfield Township, is one of six licensed by the state to support public schools in Macomb County.

"Records kept by the state Lottery Bureau indicate Macomb County may be the queen of public school bingos in Metro Detroit. A handful of groups sponsor bingos in Wayne, Oakland or Livingston counties.

"State Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters said he believes fewer bingo licenses have been issued in recent years to Metro Detroit groups because of the Detroit casinos. Sue Arnaiz, who chairs the L'Anse Creuse bingo, said attendance and profits slipped recently. She also attributes the decline to casinos.

"…But Arnaiz' group still generates about $40,000 in annual profits to fund athletic projects at the high school. The football lights and a new concession stand were built with bingo proceeds, she said.

"The L'Anse Creuse weekly bingos once were played in the school's gym. But the needs of various sports teams for more gym time, as well as a new state law that bans smoking in public school buildings, meant the operation had to rent a private hall, said the school's principal, Patrick Mulcahy…"

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