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SB-1626 Bingo: electronic cards.(2007-2008)

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SB1626:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 09, 2008

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2007–2008 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 1626


Introduced  by  Senator Steinberg

February 22, 2008


An act to amend Section 326.5 of the Penal Code, relating to bingo.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1626, as amended, Steinberg. Bingo. Bingo: electronic cards.
Existing law permits cities and counties to allow bingo games to be conducted by specified organizations for charitable purposes, subject to specified requirements. Existing law defines bingo for the purposes of these provisions as a game of chance in which prizes are awarded on the basis of designated numbers or symbols on a card that conform to numbers or symbols that are selected at random.
This bill would change the definition of bingo to allow it to be played, in addition, on an electronic replica of a bingo card. The bill would prohibit an electronic replica of a bingo card from being used under these provisions if that use would constitute a slot machine, as defined.

Existing law authorizes and regulates the conduct of bingo games, as specified.

This bill would make a technical, nonsubstantive change to those provisions.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Under subdivision (c) of Section 19 of Article IV of the California Constitution, the Legislature is authorized to allow cities and counties to permit bingo game operations, but only for charitable purposes. The Legislature has implemented this provision in Section 326.5 of the Penal Code.
(b) Charitable organizations provide invaluable services to at-risk and vulnerable populations in California, including, but not limited to, homeless children, youth, and adults, the elderly, people living with mental illness, and those with serious terminal illnesses.
(c) The services provided by these charitable organizations mitigate the impact on programs funded by the state General Fund that serve these same populations, resulting in state savings.
(d) In California, many charitable organizations have historically depended on bingo games as a revenue source. Since the statute was enacted, technology has altered the manner in which bingo games are played; bingo game cards have evolved from a simple cardboard card to an electronic bingo card.
(e) Statutory clarification is necessary to ensure charitable organizations can continue as the beneficiaries of modern bingo games and generate the revenue that allows charitable organizations to continue the critical programs on which vulnerable Californians rely.
(f) It is not the intent of the Legislature to authorize a change in the nature of the game of bingo.

SECTION 1.SEC. 2.

 Section 326.5 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

326.5.
 (a) Neither this chapter nor Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 330) applies to any bingo game that is conducted in a city, county, or city and county pursuant to an ordinance enacted under Section 19 of Article IV of the State Constitution, if the ordinance allows games to be conducted only by organizations exempted from the payment of the bank and corporation tax by Sections 23701a, 23701b, 23701d, 23701e, 23701f, 23701g, and 23701l of the Revenue and Taxation Code and by mobilehome park associations and senior citizens organizations; and if the receipts of those games are used only for charitable purposes.
(b) It is a misdemeanor for any person to receive or pay a profit, wage, or salary from any bingo game authorized by Section 19 of Article IV of the State Constitution. Security personnel employed by the organization conducting the bingo game may be paid from the revenues of bingo games, as provided in subdivisions (j) and (k).
(c) A violation of subdivision (b) shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), which fine is shall be deposited in the general fund of the city, county, or city and county that enacted the ordinance authorizing the bingo game. A violation of any provision of this section, other than subdivision (b), is a misdemeanor.
(d) The city, county, or city and county that enacted the ordinance authorizing the bingo game may bring an action to enjoin a violation of this section.
(e) No minors shall be allowed to participate in any bingo game.
(f) An organization authorized to conduct bingo games pursuant to subdivision (a) shall conduct a bingo game only on property owned or leased by it, or property whose use is donated to the organization, and which property is used by that organization for an office or for performance of the purposes for which the organization is organized. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to require that the property owned or leased by, or whose use is donated to, the organization be used or leased exclusively by, or donated exclusively to, that organization.
(g) All bingo games shall be open to the public, not just to the members of the authorized organization.
(h) A bingo game shall be operated and staffed only by members of the authorized organization that organized it. Those members shall not receive a profit, wage, or salary from any bingo game. Only the organization authorized to conduct a bingo game shall operate the game, or participate in the promotion, supervision, or any other phase of a bingo game. This subdivision does not preclude the employment of security personnel who are not members of the authorized organization at a bingo game by the organization conducting the game.
(i) No individual, corporation, partnership, or other legal entity, except the organization authorized to conduct a bingo game, shall hold a financial interest in the conduct of a bingo game.
(j) With respect to organizations exempt from payment of the bank and corporation tax by Section 23701d of the Revenue and Taxation Code, all profits derived from a bingo game shall be kept in a special fund or account and shall not be commingled with any other fund or account. Those profits shall be used only for charitable purposes.
(k) With respect to other organizations authorized to conduct bingo games pursuant to this section, all proceeds derived from a bingo game shall be kept in a special fund or account and shall not be commingled with any other fund or account. Proceeds are the receipts of bingo games conducted by organizations not within subdivision (j). Those proceeds shall be used only for charitable purposes, except as follows:
(1) The proceeds may be used for prizes.
(2) A portion of the proceeds, not to exceed 20 percent of the proceeds before the deduction for prizes, or two thousand dollars ($2,000) per month, whichever is less, may be used for the rental of property and for overhead, including the purchase of bingo equipment, administrative expenses, security equipment, and security personnel.
(3) The proceeds may be used to pay license fees.
(4) A city, county, or city and county that enacts an ordinance permitting bingo games may specify in the ordinance that if the monthly gross receipts from bingo games of an organization within this subdivision exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), a minimum percentage of the proceeds shall be used only for charitable purposes not relating to the conducting of bingo games and that the balance shall be used for prizes, rental of property, overhead, administrative expenses, and payment of license fees. The amount of proceeds used for rental of property, overhead, and administrative expenses is subject to the limitations specified in paragraph (2).
(l) (1) A city, county, or city and county may impose a license fee on each organization that it authorizes to conduct bingo games. The fee, whether for the initial license or renewal, shall not exceed fifty dollars ($50) annually, except as provided in paragraph (2). If an application for a license is denied, one-half of any license fee paid shall be refunded to the organization.
(2) In lieu of the license fee permitted under paragraph (1), a city, county, or city and county may impose a license fee of fifty dollars ($50) paid upon application. If an application for a license is denied, one-half of the application fee shall be refunded to the organization. An additional fee for law enforcement and public safety costs incurred by the city, county, or city and county that are directly related to bingo activities may be imposed and shall be collected monthly by the city, county, or city and county issuing the license; however, the fee shall not exceed the actual costs incurred in providing the service.
(m) No person shall be allowed to participate in a bingo game, unless the person is physically present at the time and place where the bingo game is being conducted.
(n) The total value of prizes awarded during the conduct of any bingo games shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250) in cash or kind, or both, for each separate game which that is held.
(o) As used in this section, “bingo” means a game of chance in which prizes are awarded on the basis of designated numbers or symbols on a card, or an electronic replica of a bingo card, that conform to numbers or symbols selected at random. Notwithstanding Section 330c, as used in this section, the game of bingo includes cards having numbers or symbols that are concealed and preprinted in a manner providing for distribution of prizes. The winning cards shall not be known prior to the game by any person participating in the playing or operation of the bingo game. All preprinted cards shall bear the legend, “for sale or use only in a bingo game authorized under California law and pursuant to local ordinance.” It is the intention of the Legislature that bingo as defined in this subdivision applies exclusively to this section and shall not be applied in the construction or enforcement of any other provision of law.
(p) An electronic replica of a bingo card shall not be used under this section if that use would constitute a slot machine or device, as defined in Section 330a, subdivision (d) of Section 330b, or Section 330.1.