Bingo amendment on the Missouri midterm ballot

On November 6, 2018, nestled on the ballot between three other amendments to the Missouri Constitution, four statewide propositions and a bunch of local ballot issues, Missouri voters will find a constitutional amendment proposal about Bingo.  It’s  not a huge issue–a lot of us thought Bingo was settled in the 1980s–but there it is, and rather than be surprised in the polling place, you might as well know about it.

The Bingo issue appears as Amendment 4 on the ballot. Essentially, it’s a tweak to existing regulations about Bingo games run by non-profit organizations. It got on the ballot as a result of a vote in the Missouri legislature. Here’s what it’s about:

It’s an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would reduce the amount of time required for someone to belong to a group before he/she can manage a Bingo game for the organization. Under current rules, you have to be a member for two years. Under proposed Amendment 4, you need to be a member for just six months.

Amendment 4 also would remove the current ban on advertising for Bingo games.

Why is such a minor-seeming correction being voted on as an amendment to the Missouri Constitution, you ask? Good question. A constitutional amendment is necessary because the original authorization approving Bingo in the state came in the form of a constitutional amendment itself. So, to change an amendment to the constitution, you have to pass another amendment to the constitution.

If you can get past the notion that our state constitution–a document that, in my humble opinion, should be a philosophical framework–is not the place for such picayune administrative details, it’s probably worth a Yes vote, just to clean things up a bit and bring Bingo more in line with other gambling gambits in this state.