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His Way Homes Inc. v. Mississippi Gaming Commission

February 18, 1999

HIS WAY HOMES, INC.
v.
MISSISSIPPI GAMING COMMISSION



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Smith, Justice

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/06/1998

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. W. SWAN YERGER

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - STATE BOARDS AND AGENCIES

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 2/18/99

EN BANC.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Statement of the Facts

¶1. Appellant His Way Homes, Inc. ("HWH") is a charitable organization licensed by the Mississippi Gaming Commission ("MGC") to conduct bingo games under Mississippi's Charitable Bingo Law, Miss. Code Ann. §§ 97-33-50 et. seq. (Rev.1994 & Supp. 1998). Under the statute, "bingo" is not limited to the traditional oral bingo games, but also includes video bingo as well as "pull-tabs," when they are made available as a companion game to bingo and played on the premises of a licensed charitable bingo organization. Miss. Code Ann § 97-33-53(a) (1994). In addition to conducting traditional bingo, HWH maintains ten video pull-tab and bingo machines which are offered for play.

¶2. HWH offers video pull-tab and bingo machines for play as many as 35 to 40 hours per week beyond their regular session hours of play. On September 10, 1996, an enforcement agent of MGC found that HWH was paying additional compensation to workers involved in the extended hours operation of these video machines. MGC had previously discovered HWH's practice in 1995, and warned the Executive Director of HWH that such additional compensation violated the statute in MGC's opinion. Nevertheless, HWH continued paying the additional compensation.

¶3. MGC then filed a Disciplinary Complaint against HWH charging a violation the statute. The Complaint alleged that HWH paid compensation for the previous two-week period for persons involved in the holding, operating or conducting of licensed games of chance, as follows:

Date Compensation

June 4, 1996 $7,437.50

June 18, 1996 $7,731.00

July 2, 1996 $7,738.75

July 16, 1996 $7,721.00

July 31, 1996 $7,752.75

Aug. 12, 1996 ...


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