Court Ruling Lets Texas Bingo Operators Use Proceeds To Lobby

HOUSTON (July 29, 2014) A ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows charitable bingo operators to use proceeds from their games to lobby Texas lawmakers on a variety of issues, including gambling.

The ruling late Monday struck down a provision of the Texas Bingo Enabling Act, which has been on the books for more than three decades.

The court said the law violates free speech rights of nonprofit organizations that hold bingo licenses.

About a dozen AMVETS and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, and Elks lodges from around the state filed suit in 2010 against the Texas Lottery Commission and its commissioners.

The suit contended for-profit gambling interests like horse and dog racing firms were allowed to use revenues "to influence the political process" but nonprofit groups were not.

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