BALTIMORE – One way Bingo World, a commercial bingo parlor just south of Baltimore, has been keeping in business despite the growing competition from slots casinos is by operating video pull-tab machines.
The machines look, act and sound like slots – but they are different under law.
They are essentially automatic ticket dispensers. On the inside, there’s a reel of tickets where one might expect to find something more digital. When you play the game, the machine reads the ticket, and the results appear on screen.
Slots machines generate results based on a random number generator, said Bingo World general manager Randy Clemens. These machines don’t have that – you’re always going to get exactly what is preprinted on the next ticket.
Clemens said about 50 percent of Bingo World’s income comes from the machines. Without the machines, Clemens said they would have gone out of business.
Clemens said Bingo World first got the machines in 2002, after they were ruled legal to be used at a restaurant in Chesapeake Beach, which he said had a license to run bingo. He said once that happened, Bingo World and other commercial bingo halls started asking for the machines.
They started off with 10, and now Bingo World has 200 machines. Clemens said that by law they cannot expand the number of machines they have beyond the number of machines they had on Feb. 8, 2007.