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New Mo. law eases bingo restrictions

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Among the new laws signed this week by Governor Jay Nixon is one that will ease restrictions on bingo operators in Missouri.

Starting August 28th, fraternal and veterans groups will be able to host bingo games twice a week instead of just once, expand their operating hours, spend more on advertising, and hold up to 15 pull tab events per year instead of just four. Caps on cash prizes will also be eliminated.

Dewey Riehn is legislative chairman for the Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

"It will make it hopefully more profitable," Riehn said. "The organizations that currently play bingo, (this) will stop the hemorrhaging or stop the bleeding."

Riehn says the current restrictions and competition from casinos have led some groups to drop bingo.

The dollars earned from the games go to non-profit and charitable causes. State Representative Denny Hoskins (R, Warrensburg) sponsored the bill in the Missouri House.

"In Warrensburg, Missouri, we have four bingo halls, and they provide a lot of different funding for our veterans homes, our Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and other worthwhile causes," Hoskins said.

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