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HB 2642 would transfer the regulation and licensing of charitable bingo from the Texas Lottery Commission (TLC) to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and makes conforming changes to the Occupations Code regarding the transfer of licensing and regulation of charitable bingo from TLC to TDLR.
The 5 percent bingo prize fee currently collected on all bingo winnings valued at more than $5 would no longer be collected by TDLR and deposited into the General Revenue (GR) Fund. Instead, the prize fee would be considered a prize tax and collected by the licensed authorized organization on cash prize payouts and would not apply to merchandise payouts. Half of the tax collected would be remitted to qualifying counties and municipalities and the other half would be kept by the collecting licensed authorized organization in the organization's general charitable fund
The bill would amend the Occupations Code to replace the term "gross receipts," as defined in the Bingo Enabling Act, with "gross gaming revenue" and to define it as the formerly defined "gross receipts" less the amount of cash prizes paid to winners of bingo games. The bill replaces references to "adjusted gross receipts" with references to "gross gaming revenue" in statutory provisions.
HB 2642 specifies that a fraternal organization TDLR is authorized to license to conduct bingo is to be a fraternal organization that has been organized in Texas for at least three years.
The bill repeals a statutory provision prohibiting an authorized organization that holds an annual license to conduct bingo from receiving not more than 24 temporary licenses during a specified time period.
The bill removes the authority of the commission or a district court in the county for which a commercial lessor license was issued to temporarily or permanently enjoin the conduct of bingo at premises under a license for which the license holder dies or becomes incapacitated as determined by a court of this state and instead authorizes a district court in Travis County by order to temporarily or permanently enjoin such conduct of bingo.
HB 2642 would prohibit a manufacturer from offering to sell or supply to a person in Texas or for use in Texas certain supplies or equipment designed to be used in playing bingo unless the manufacturer holds a manufacturer's license. The bill makes the first offense of a person without the appropriate license who sells, offers to sell, or attempts to induce the sale of bingo equipment or supplies to a licensed authorized organization a state jail felony and enhances the penalty for a subsequent offense to a third degree felony.
The bill prohibits the authorized game room regulations from restricting or prohibiting the location of a game room at a location where bingo was conducted on or beforeJanuary 1, 2015, under a license issued under the Bingo Enabling Act; from requiring signage or the placing of regulations on the windows or doors of such a location; from restricting the hours of operation of a game room at such a location; or from applying to such a location in a manner that is different from a location that derives more than 50 percent of its sales from the sale of food or beverages, including alcohol and liquor sales.
HB 2642 repeals Local Government Code provisions relating to the regulation of game rooms by a county with a population of less than 25,000 that is adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico and is within 50 miles of an international border and repeals a provision within statutory provisions relating to the regulation of game rooms by a county with a population of four million or more limiting the applicability of those provisions to such a county.
These are recommendations made by a special legislative review committee.
HB 2642 would mainly transfer the regulatory authority over charitable bingo from the Lottery Commission to TDLR. This administrative change still won't fully solve the regulatory burdens that charitable bingo faces and further review of bingo regulations should be conducted.
The felony offenses under this bill seem very unnecessary for the "crime". A bit of perspective is in order. A state jail felony is punishable by confinement in a state jail for 180 days to two years. A third degree felony is punishable by confinement in prison for a term of not less than two to not more than ten years. In addition to confinement certain felony level offenses are subject to an optional fine not to exceed $10,000. These punishments are not justifiable for selling bingo equipment or supplies.
We oppose this legislation.