Director of Charitable Bingo Operations Resigned

Two weeks after state lottery officials delayed a vote on a controversial plan that could let bingo halls use electronic devices similar to slot machines, the director of charitable bingo operations resigned.

On Monday, Texas Lottery Commission members will hold a hastily called public meeting — via conference call — to discuss choosing a temporary or permanent replacement for Sandra Joseph, who turned in her resignation letter May 1.

All this comes as some question how much money charities receive from bingo and a new Lobby Watch report shows that the K&B Sales bingo company, which was among those seeking changes in the rules, has ties to an effort that has operated illegal gambling machines in Texas.

“It raises some very serious questions,” said Rob Kohler, a consultant with the Dallas-based Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which opposes increased gambling.

Lottery Commission spokeswoman Kelly Cripe confirmed that Joseph resigned but had no further comment.

As for the Lobby Watch report, the commission said in a statement that “the information [in the report] is not related to agency staff’s mission to properly oversee and regulate charitable bingo.”

On Monday, commissioners will hold a public meeting because “of the reasonably unforeseeable resignation” of Joseph, which leaves a vacancy at the top.

The meeting must be by telephone because it would be “difficult or impossible” to achieve a quorum in person.

Last year, Joseph was named director of charitable bingo operations to lead the agency’s supervision of bingo statewide.

Before that, she served in posts including special counsel for the Lottery Commission, as well as open-records counsel for the comptroller of public accounts and legal counsel to four railroad commissioners.

In her brief letter, she listed no reason for her resignation.

The agenda calls for commissioners to meet in executive session to discuss naming a director or acting director of charitable bingo operations.

This report supplied by