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Ohio problem gambling charity raises “underregulated” electronic bingo concerns


The Problem Gambling Network of Ohio warned of the number of electronic bingo machines – which it said were effectively “underregulated slot machines” – that could be installed across the state if Senate Bill 176 is enacted. 

The bill was officially introduced earlier this month, with an updated version filed yesterday. Though mostly covering sports betting, the bill would allow charitable organisations to host electronic bingo machines. The Problem Gambling Network wanred that these could see the machines appear in 900 locations statewide.

The lack of regulation involved with the machines and the potential unrestricted access to gaming were the charity’s main point of concern. The newly created gambling venues would also be under no obligation to share revenue with education and other state programs.

Derek Longmeier, executive director of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, said: “Expanded gambling without an appropriate regulatory framework is a bad bet for Ohioans.

“SB 176 does not currently contain the necessary consumer protections to mitigate the harm that will result from introducing e-bingo in Ohio.

“The bill contains no requirements to ensure the e-bingo staff, whether paid or volunteer, are consistently trained to respond to those experiencing a gambling problem.”

The group said it hoped that a compromise for the bill can be reached which prioritizes customer protection, and prevents the spread of underregulated gambling machines across the state.