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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington Voices

Valley Foundation Losing Revenue To Tribal Bingo

The Spokane Valley Foundation passed its annual review by the state gambling commission, although it narrowly failed to meet two requirements.

The Valley Foundation operates a bingo parlor at 1212 N. Pines Road.

Revenue from the bingo operation has, since 1979, enabled the foundation to provide transportation services for senior citizens and support for Valley Meals on Wheels, the Senior Times newspaper and other Valley nonprofit groups.

Last year, the foundation spent 9.3 percent, rather than the required 11 percent, of its gambling revenues on its charitable purposes.

Also, the non-profit group exceeded - by a mere fraction of a percent - the share of revenue it is allowed to spend on supporting services.

The success of tribal gambling operations has made this a turbulent time for non-profit bingo operations. The Valley Foundation’s situation is not unusual, said Carrie Telefson, spokeswoman for the Washington State Gambling Commission.

“It is a statewide kind of phenomenon,” Telefson said.

“It’s a mess, but we’re surviving,” said Norman Majer, president of the Valley Foundation.

Majer reported a drop in revenue in 1996 from $206,701 to $139,067.

The foundation has met its state requirements for this fiscal year, he said.

“It used to be that bingo was the first choice for people. Now we get the people who don’t want to drive that far,” Majer said, referring to the popular Coeur d’Alene Tribal Bingo Casino near Worley, Idaho, about 20 miles southeast of the Valley Foundation bingo hall.

“Certainly no one is getting rich here,” Majer said, “except for the person who wins the next Powerball.”

, DataTimes

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