October 9, 2023 2 min read


Arizona Veterans Accuse State Agencies of Aggressive Bingo Inspections

The state agencies believe that their intentions have been misinterpreted

Arizona veterans are opposed to state inspections of the bingo sector, claiming that the government wants to penalize organizations using bingo technological aids (BTAs). Agents are trying to refute these claims and convince opponents that they are only cracking down on illegal bingo machines.

BTAs are electronic bingo cards that make it easier for disabled players to enjoy bingo. They have been legal for years now but the recent investigations prompted fears that Arizona might be this might not always be the case.

According to Republican Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli, several state departments have been raiding organizations that use BTAs, scaring employees and threatening to criminally prosecute organizations that host bingo.

Their gaming agents have been going into these nonprofit organizations, heavy-handed, flashing badges, freaking out bartenders with criminal prosecution and intimidation, and it’s ridiculous.

Sonny Borrelli statement

The veterans remain unconvinced of the state’s peaceful intentions with many of them slamming the inspections as aggressive and disruptive.

Arizona Veterans of Foreign Wars member Jim Zawacki said that it is the inspectors’ responsibility to help businesses correct infractions. He insists that bingo is an important source of money for veteran organizations, allowing them to continue supporting their members and communities.

The Agencies Want to Protect Vulnerable Audiences from Unlicensed Bingo Products

The state agencies, however, believe that their intentions have been misinterpreted. In addition to telling Borrelli that they have never threatened to criminally prosecute bingo organizations, they tried to explain that the investigations seek to crack down on bingo gambling machines and potentially revoke the liquor licenses of businesses that offer them.

For reference, these machines function much like slots and, unlike bingo, are illegal in Arizona.

Furthermore, the agencies claimed that their inspections are not really raids but rather an effort to combat the proliferation of illegal machines. According to a statement by the Arizona Department of Gaming, the inspections give licensees “every opportunity to comply with the law.”

Christian Slater, a spokesperson for Governor Katie Hobbs, tried to convince the veterans that illegal machines are, in fact, exploiting them. Slater slammed Borrelli as a promoter of unregulated and potentially predatory gambling who “made a political stunt out of Governor Hobbs protecting some of Arizona’s most vulnerable populations.”


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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