Queens lawmakers announce bill expanding operation of bingo for seniors and community organizations

Photos courtesy of Assemblyman Rosenthal's office

Bingo enthusiasts can now enjoy the popular game of chance more frequently following a bill that was just signed into law.

Queens representatives Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal announced the passage of their bill which expands the operation of bingo games for senior and community centers. Under the legislation, centers can now host games roughly once per week and also covers nonprofit and religious organizations under the provisions.

“Restrictions around bingo were long overdue for a change,” said Rosenthal. “Senior centers across the state were taking chances by offering social opportunities for our residents. By partnering with Senator Stavisky and Governor Cuomo on this legislation, New York ensures that no one has to play the odds between building friendships and facing a fine.”

Rosenthal and Stavisky introduced the bill back in April in order to change New York state’s laws which governed games of chance with monetary prizes. New York’s stringent and longstanding laws concerning games of chance even applied to games with prizes of nominal amounts.

The state required organizations to register games of chance if it (1) promoted consumer products or services, (2) had a prize totaling $5,000 or more, (3) determined a winner by chance, (4) required no consideration to enter the game. All applications also required a nonrefundable $100 filing fee.

Under an old statute, community organizations could host bingo games 15 days per year without a state-issued license. Though the state rarely enforced the statute, senior and community organizations put themselves at risk by providing such games as a form of recreation.

“I want to thank Gov. Cuomo for signing this legislation and Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal for his dedication in passing this bill in the Assembly,” said Stavisky. “As a result, older adults will be able to play additional bingo games without the senior centers being penalized. Studies show that participating in activities has positive results. It gives seniors a reason to get up in the morning, meet friends and participate with other community members.”

More from Around New York