Club Developers Bet On Bingo to Boost Measure

Developers of a proposed casino have added a new wrinkle--plans for regular bingo nights--in an effort to drum up more voter support for the card club measure.

Voters will decide June 6 whether the $35-million club will be built on a vacant lot in the northeast section of the city. A similar measure was narrowly defeated two years ago, but it did not include plans for bingo games.

Proceeds from bingo, a low-stakes game that attracts scores of players at smaller venues and parlors throughout the Los Angeles area, would go to various nonprofit organizations in the city.

Proponents said they hope the bingo proposal will generate more support for the casino from older residents and others who traditionally play the game, in which the average bet is $1 and the highest allowable prize is $250.

"People want a nice, safe place to play bingo," said Frank Caliri III, one of the casino's developers. "It's an additional way we can share with the community."

None of the other area card clubs offers bingo games, he said.

Bingo is allowed by state law as long as the proceeds go to charity and the operators give 1% of the gross revenues to the host city.

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