Bingo Hall Raid A Waste of Time Says Op-Ed Author

The recent harassment of a newly opened bingo hall in Cork Ireland has generated a lot of press. Most of the coverage has shown the police in a bad light and one superintendant said he intends to prevent any form of gambling in ‘his’ jurisdiction. The Rock Creek bingo hall in Cork has been forced to spend thousands on legal expenses. The hall won one legal battle after a judge said that the police needed to give the hall 24 hours notice before a search warrant could be served. The police responded by saying they intend to seek warrants every day until the final court decision which will be made on November 21st.

A strongly worded op-ed in the New Ross Standard takes issue with police actions. The author points out that the bingo hall created 30 much needed jobs in an area suffering from high unemployment. At issue was the hall’s licensing despite the fact that the police know full well that the hall’s operators had partnered with a licensed hospital charity. The opening night was ruined when police showed a half an hour before the grand opening and seized all of the bingo books making the games impossible.

Given the fact that most live bingo players are pensioners it is hard to understand why police would conduct such a raid and make pensioners on a fixed income feel like common criminals. Although bingo may be gambling it is hardly a hotbed of criminal behavior. As the owners pointed out they were trying to provide an inexpensive alcohol free venue where players could enjoy bingo games. As the op-ed states ” Sometimes it feels like the powers that be are trying to suck every bit of light-hearted enjoyment out of society.”

The author goes on to point out that the newly opened bingo hall was unlikely to put pressure on limited police resources in the same way that pubs and nightclubs do when drunken patrons gather outside such establishments. Bingo games provide a much safer environment for older people many of whom have limited social opportunities and may be on a fixed income. As the author of the op-ed states “It seems like a bit of an easy target to call a halt to the likes of a bingo hall launch not to mention a poor way to use ever dwindling Garda resources.” Hopefully all this drama will come to an end on November 21st when the High Court will render its decision.