Bingo Bust: LAPD Shuts Down Senior Home's ‘Illegal Gambling'

Some senior citizens say the Los Angeles Police Department shut down their bingo game. 

Karen Adams has been playing bingo in her retirement community for eight years. The crowd may not look too excited about the game, but Adams insist they are love it.

"People can't wait to bingo, bingo, bingo!" she said.

Adams and her neighbors organized the game. They pitch in 25 cents a card. That pays for prizes they buy at the 99 Cents Store.

But Adams says the LAPD recently shut down their game for "illegal gambling."

"They said, 'you've got to close this down. You can go ahead and finish playing today but no more,'" Adams said. 

So she reached out to NBC4 for help.

Apparently, all bingo games are regulated by both state law and LA City ordinance. Even "rowdy" senior home bingo games. 

A 20 page document spells out all the rules -- from conduct to record keeping to licensing. And that was the problem: Adams' group didn't have a license to play.

"They can't play their game until they get their permit and follow the rules," said Capt. Paul Vernon.

Vernon says a disgruntled resident complained to the police about the game, so he was obligated to investigate -- something he did with humor.

"There were no bearcats, no tanks, no helmets," he said. "We're not generally worried about bingo games or any other kind of gambling at senior citizen homes." 

After we started poking around, Adams' building management took care of the problem for the players - and got them a license to play legally.

"I'm just glad that we're going to have it again. I really am," she said. 

Vernon just left them with a bit of advice.


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"There's one thing you should always be assured of in any gambling operation - it's always going to be in favor of the house," he said. 

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