Catawba nation pulls request to open bingo hall in North Charles - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Catawba nation pulls request to open bingo hall in North Charleston

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The Catawba nation has changed its mind about trying to open a bingo hall in North Charleston.

North Charleston City Council's public safety committee was supposed to vote on the issue Thursday afternoon, but an amended agenda shows the item was pulled.

The Catawbas currently operate a bingo hall in the Upstate.

"They want to go to a community that welcomes them as we were welcomed in Rock Hill, SC," said Tim Mallard, spokesman for the Cawtaba Nation. "They as a Tribe and a Charity (501-C3) only want to go to a community that welcomes them with open arms. They like to see Charities flourish and we are great corporate citizens. "

Local bingo hall operators feared competition from the Catawbas would force them to go out of business.

"It would have virtually shut down all of the charitable bingo halls in the Charleston area," local bingo hall owner Donivon Glassburn said. 

Glassburn says the current bingo halls wouldn't be able to compete with the Catawbas.

"They have a huge advantage because they can pay out $100,000 per game and local charitables pay out $20 per game, sometimes $150 per game," Glassburn said. 

State law requires bingo halls to pay a portion of their proceeds to the department of revenue and and also to donate to charities.

The Catawbas only have to pay a state tax and can send their proceeds back to the reservation.

The Tri-County Fraternal Order of Police is one of the local charities that benefits from bingo.

The organization helps local police officers and their families.

Its president says if the Catawbas were able to put the current parlors out of business, there would be a huge financial hit.

"Had our bingo went out of business, obviously we would have had to cut back on services or found other funding sources," Tri-County FOP Lodge 3 president John Blackmon said.

A spokesman for North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said Thursday morning the mayor was concerned the Catawba's bingo operation would take money from non-profits. Summey did not support the proposal, according to his spokesman. 

The Catawbas also reportedly also have looked at Santee and Myrtle Beach as possible locations.

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