Fate of commercial bingo is topic of public hearing


The Amusement License Commission will hold a public hearing this afternoon on proposed regulations for renewing commercial bingo licenses.

In January the County Council created the commission to develop the regulations after the county's bingo industry, the only one in the country outside of Indian reservations, was tarred with allegations of mob connections.

Under the proposals, the director of licensing must provide the operator of a bingo parlor a renewal application within 100 days before the existing license is due to expire. The operator has a month to submit the application, along with the license fee.

In the application, the operator must provide the names of any employees who were fired during the preceding licensing period and give the reason for the firing. The operator also must provide written notice of any changes in concessions, leases, parking agreements or other arrangements related to the operation of the bingo parlor.

The director then has a month to decide whether to renew the license and notify the operator, who can ask for a public hearing if his license is not being renewed.

The Amusement License Commission will consider the comments at the hearing, any written comments that are submitted, any records of operations of the bingo parlor and any other information that pertains to the operator, and will submit its recommendations to the director of licensing within 15 days of the hearing.

The proposed regulations also call for the commission to respect the confidentiality of documents that legally should be kept confidential. The commission must return one copy of any confidential documents to the operator within 10 days after the license is renewed or 10 days after the deadline in which to appeal the denial of a license.

The meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Heritage Center, Riva Road in Annapolis. Comments should be sent to Anne Hatcher, Chief of Licensing, Department of Inspections and Permits, P.O. Box 6675, Annapolis 21404.

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