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New law allows 'network bingo' for Va. charities

Saturday - 12/28/2013, 3:14pm  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia nonprofit organizations hope to revive sagging bingo revenues by joining forces for a weekly game offering a top prize of up to $25,000.

Legislation to allow "network bingo" takes effect Jan. 1. Players will be able to buy a card for the game at any participating bingo hall, where they can watch an online video stream as the numbers are pulled at a centralized location.

Chuck Lessin is legislative director for the Virginia Charitable Bingo Association. He says the 400 organizations licensed to conduct charitable bingo games have seen annual revenue decline from about $500 million to $265 million over the last 15 years. The new game is aimed at reversing the trend by offering bigger jackpots that will attract more players.

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