MACo Offers Amendments on Bingo Authorization Bill

On March 1st, Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony to the Ways & Means Committee in support of HB 970 Senior Citizen Activities Centers – Bingo Games – Authorization with amendments.

This bill would authorize individuals to conduct bingo games at senior citizen activities centers.

From the MACo Testimony:

While this is a well-intentioned means of expanding recreational activities, it places additional unintentional burdens on local governments.

County governments operate and oversee senior citizen activities centers. As drafted, the bill would not allow counties to have any say in whether an individual holds bingo games at a senior activities center. Since counties have a responsibility to manage their senior citizen activities centers, they would be obligated to monitor and manage these games even if they didn’t have the resources or desire to do so. A broad spectrum of services are organized and offered at these centers and counties need to have the flexibility to provide and monitor programs at these centers in the best interest of their communities.

MACo offers amendments to ensure the goal of allowing individuals to conduct bingo games is balanced by the ability of counties to decide whether to operate the games. Changing the authorization for these games to occur at residential senior centers instead of senior citizen activities centers would allow these games to occur in private facilities without requiring counties to oversee games at their senior centers.

For more on 2019 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.