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Editorial: Don't allow children to play bingo

Editorial: Don't allow children to play bingo

Lawmakers are considering making it legal for minors to play bingo again
Editorial: Don't allow children to play bingo
Photographer: Shutterstock

Two years ago, the state barred minors from playing bingo. 

It was the right call.

It brought bingo's minimum age in line with other forms of gambling, and prevented children from hanging around bingo halls with their parents and grandparents and becoming schooled in gaming at a young age. 

Unfortunately, lawmakers are considering making it legal for minors to play bingo again. 

Under a law proposed by state Sen. Timothy Kennedy, D-Buffalo, minors would be permitted to play bingo as long as they are accompanied by adults. 

In justifying his proposal, Kennedy has said he wants to ensure that children can take part in the "decades-old tradition of playing bingo." 

Children playing bingo with adults might be a tradition, but it's not a good one. 

It sends the message that gambling is good, harmless fun, at a time when the overabundance of gaming options in New York makes teaching children about the problems caused by gambling of the utmost importance. 

Beyond that, a bingo hall is not an appropriate place for children. 

Bingo might enjoy a reputation as a softer, more benign form of gambling, but we would argue that all gambling, even bingo, has the potential to cause harm. 

Restricting bingo to adults is sound policy, and the Legislature should take a pass on permitting children to indulge. 

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