Gadsden’s Bingo Tax Rising

Gadsden, Alabama raises money for its school band programs in a unique way. The city council imposed a ten cent tax on each bingo card used in the city-wide bingo games. It was felt that the bingo tax was a good source of revenue for the schools since most bingo players had families with students in one or more of these programs. And, it was an easy way for seniors to contribute to the community through this taxGadsden's Bingo Tax – 123 Bingo Online which was not overly burdensome.

Given time, the city council found that the tax did not decrease the revenue from the bingo games. In fact, the revenue had gone up a bit since playing bingo also supported the local school district programs. However, last year the Gadsden City Council passed a restriction on smoking in public places.

This law includes restrictions against smoking in enclosed business offices, within 20 feet of building entrances and prevented smoking at most public events as well. It turns out that smoking is fairly popular at bingo parlors since players don’t want to leave their cards to smoke outside during the games. The new law went into effect on Feb 1, 2015.

During the city council debate on the new law, it was brought up that this source of revenue might fall. Since the bingo games run several hours long and players are very protective of both their spots in the hall and their cards on the table, there is very little incentive for bingo players to smoke outside. The operators of the game were afraid that players would simply find other locations for their bingo. However, the response from the city council was perhaps the bingo tax would go up due to more non-smokers feeling free to come to the games. Many players of bingo tend to be older, and many persons in this age group have medical issues that become worse when exposed to smoke. So, in the end, the smoking ordinance won the day.

Fortunately, the first report to the city council on the bingo tax with the new law brought positive news. According to the report, the Etowah Youth Orchestras received $12,551.98 from the bingo tax in the first quarter of 2015. This result is an increase over the amounts received in 2014 and 2013. So far the fears about smoking decreasing money for the orchestra seems misplaced. The law seems to have attracted more players to the bingo parlors despite the smoking restriction.