by Max Brantley
If anybody believes "charity" bingo is going to be run on the up-and-up you need only look around. In Jonesboro, with a wink from Prosecutor Brent Davis, illegal games began before the law took effect. Yesterday, I heard a report about a place that sunk $200,000 in bingo hall improvements. A purely "charity" operation with volunteer help is going to pay this off? Count me skeptical. The thoughts are also prompted by an anecdote in the Morning News.
The American Legion post in Prairie Grove has been running a weekly Thursday night game for quite some time, said Jerry Myers, the post's commander. The group applied to the state for a bingo license because they did not want to do something illegal, he said.
Bingo operators who had no respect for the law before it was passed seem unlikely to have any respect for it now. Same story indicated that another organization began operations even though they hadn't paid the state excise tax on bingo cards they used. Since the proper cards didn't arrive on time, the operators figures no one would care if they broke the law just a little bit. The law will be monitored rarely. Prosecutors like Davis will proclaim they have better things to do. Corruption will follow.