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Moskowitz and "Mega-bingos" in California

News reports on problems with the California bingo industry

State legislative efforts in 2001 and 2002 to curb the dominance of Irving Moskowitz's Hawaiian Gardens bingo washed out. But they left in their wake considerable journalistic exploration of how, under California law requiring bingo to be strictly for charity, mega-bingos like Hawaiian Gardens operate as multi-million-dollar businesses.

Bingo's Fat Cats, Part I
by Ron Russell
11 October 2001
New Times LA

“While much attention has been focused on the state’s faltering attempts to get a handle on Indian casino gambling, investigators say charity bingo has become a hotbed for operators who take advantage of weak state laws and even weaker enforcement by the cities and counties that regulate the games.” The government has let illegal “charity” bingo clubs operate, while social establishments have suffered.
Bingo! Charitable Gaming Scores Big Money for Brea Businessman
by Bingo! Charitable Gaming Scores Big Money for Brea Businessman
25 January 2001
OC Weekly

Twenty-five years ago, after California legislators gave the states charities a monopoly on bingo, high school football teams, senior citizen centers and religious organizations got in on the act. But nobody has earned more money from so-called charity bingo than Brea businessman Donald R. Havard.
The editorials below emphasize the need to reform bingo to protect its legitimate charity function.
Cleaning Up Bingo: Editorial
by San Francisco Chronicle
03 June 2002
San Francisco Chronicle

The bingo industry needs to be reformed to curb controversial operations, like Moskowitz's, argues this editorial. However, "Attempts in Sacramento to pass reform legislation have been blocked by big bingo operators, who spread campaign cash freely around the Legislature. Most notorious is the state's largest bingo king, Irving Moskowitz, who runs the Hawaiian Gardens Bingo Club in Hawaiian Gardens, a tiny suburb of Los Angeles."

Bingo Operations Need Stronger Controls
by Charles E. Greenberg
13 May 2001
Long Beach Press-Telegram

There need to be stricter laws governing “charitable” bingo operations. The Moskowitz bingo club in Hawaiian Gardens is an example of an operation that abuses the rules.
Editorial: Big-time bingo
by Editorial: Big-time bingo
20 February 2002
Sacramento Bee

The Bee opines on a bill that would make it more fair for truly charitable bingo clubs to survive, and not have to compete with questionable “charities” like that of Moskowitz.

Bingo bill unites unlikely coalition
by Gary Delsohn
15 February 2002
Sacramento Bee

A Coalition-backed bingo reform bill would have eliminated some of the abuses of the bingo industry in California. Moskowitz's bingo club is a perfect example of a monopolistic establishment that prevents other charitable bingo clubs from surviving.

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© 2003 the Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem