The definition of a Class II bingo machine is quite complicated. The program running the machine must select number for the player similar to the way a player marks a bingo card, along with many other technical specifications, which have changed over the years.
One thing that has always remained constant, however, has been the requirement that the player make at least two actions to trigger a decision. That principle is about to change, however.
Last month, the National Indian Gaming Commission published a ruling in the Federal Register that said the one-touch system meets the definition of bingo as included in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and in existing regulations.
“The NIGC believes that this proposed reinterpretation is more in keeping with IGRA’s definition of bingo and will bring clarity to the industry,” said the ruling.
The Bush administration, under then-NIGC Chairman Phil Hogen, had rejected a gaming ordinance submitted by the Metlakatla Indian Community of Alaska because it treated one-touch bingo as a Class II game. Hogen said that the game was “fully automated, fully electronic” system that eliminated certain elements of player participation, and therefore was a Class III game, not Class II.
The ruling is expected to have a huge impact on Indian Country, particularly in states like California, where tribes make no tax payments to the state for revenue derived from Class II games.