Mailing Date: March 28, 2011
Corry Central Labor Club
RE: Bar Bingo and Small Games of Chance
Dear Mr. Dundon:
ISSUE: This is in response to your correspondence to this office, dated February 11, 2011, in which you state that you are the accountant for the Corry Central Labor Club, which holds both bingo and small games of chance licenses. You ask whether “the limits for ‘Bar Bingo’ apply separate from the Small Games of Chance limits.”
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (“Board”) records indicate that the Corry Central Labor Council holds Catering Club Liquor License No. CC-4264 (LID 1957) for the premises located at 30-34 W. Main Street, Corry, Pennsylvania.
OPINION: Section 5.32(e) of the Board’s Regulations permits retail licensees, including clubs, to hold, or permit to be held, on their licensed premises an event, tournament or contest, but only under certain conditions. [40 Pa. Code § 5.32(e)]. One (1) of the conditions is that no unlawful gambling may be directly or indirectly associated with any event, tournament, contest, or activity on the licensed premises. Unlawful gambling consists of the following elements: 1) an entrance fee or charge to play, 2) an element of chance, and 3) a reward or prize. Because unlawful gambling is a violation of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, this office cannot provide you with a legal opinion regarding whether the restaurant’s bar bingo would constitute unlawful gambling. However, some gambling activities, while unlawful generally, are considered to be lawful if conducted by an entity that holds a small games of chance permit. Therefore, you should contact your local police, the Pennsylvania State Police, or your county’s district attorney’s office for an official opinion regarding bar bingo on the licensed premises.
Furthermore, please be advised that in any single event, tournament or contest, the total value of all prizes for any given event may not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00), and the total value of all prizes awarded in a seven (7)-day period may not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000.00). [40 Pa. Code § 5.32(e)(7)].
In response to your specific question, the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act [10 P.S. §§ 311-327] regulates what type of games may be conducted by holders of a small games of chance permit, how they may be conducted, and what prizes may be awarded. The Board does not regulate either the Small Games of Chance Act or the Bingo Law [10 P.S. §§ 301-308.1], and as such, the interpretation of the Acts falls outside of the scope of authority of the Board. Therefore, it is recommended that you contact your County Treasurer’s Office, which normally handles the applications locally, and/or the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Miscellaneous Tax Division, at (717) 787-8275 with any questions or concerns about small games of chance and bingo. Please note that the Bingo law limits and the Small Games of Chance limits supersede the Board’s limits.
In closing, should you have any further questions or concerns regarding this matter, or the Board’s Regulations please do not hesitate to again contact this Office.
THIS OPINION APPLIES ONLY TO THE FACTUAL SITUATION DESCRIBED HEREIN AND DOES NOT INSULATE THE LICENSEE OR OTHERS FROM CONSEQUENCES OF CONDUCT OCCURRING PRIOR TO ITS ISSUANCE. THE PROPRIETY OF THE PROPOSED CONDUCT HAS BEEN ADDRESSED ONLY UNDER THE LIQUOR CODE AND REGULATIONS. THE LAWS AND POLICIES ON WHICH THIS OPINION IS BASED ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE BY THE LEGISLATURE OR THE PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD.
Very truly yours,
FAITH S. DIEHL
cc: Pennsylvania State Police
Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement
Jerry W. Waters, Director of Office of Regulatory Affairs
Jane Melchior, Director, Bureau of Licensing
Tisha Albert, Assistant Director, Bureau of Licensing
LCB Advisory Opinion No. 11-089