Arkansas Catholics Told to Give Up Bingo

JULY 29, 2004 - Posted at 7:39 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Catholics in Arkansas have been told to lay off the bingo cards.

In a letter July 21, the Diocese of Little Rock told priests, administrators and other interested parties to immediately halt bingo games, which are illegal in Arkansas.

Arkansas has about 116,000 Catholics and about 130 Catholic churches.  Diocese spokesman Dennis Lee declined to discuss the letter.

Gambling is illegal in Arkansas, except at Hot Springs and West Memphis race tracks.

But some churches and Catholic groups had continued their bingo games.  Earlier this month, Randolph County Sheriff Brent Earley told two Pocahontas bingo operators, including a Catholic church, to end the games or face prosecution.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)