PONCA Tribe introduces proxy bingo

Monday, August 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WHITE EAGLE, Okla. (AP) _ The Ponca Tribe is offering an alternative to Oklahomans who play out-of-state lotteries.

The tribe says it is creating a large-jackpot weekly bingo game featuring proxy players.

The tribe, which has an agreement with Bingotron of Norman, wants to challenge the drain on Oklahoma's economy made by the Texas and Kansas lotteries, tribal chairman Bennett Arkeketa said in a news release.

The Poncas will hold a large-jackpot bingo game every Tuesday starting Sept. 4.

Players can purchase reservations for a particular bingo card at participating convenience stores. Then proxy players at the tribal game hall in White Eagle will represent them during the game.

Players can find out whether they won by phone, registered mail or by checking at the store where they reserved the card. A player can reserve a card for one to 26 weeks. Each week will cost $1 plus tax.

``The Texas lottery costs Oklahoma $60 million a year in exported money and we're setting out to bring it back and then some,'' Arkeketa said.

Arkeketa said the super jackpot game, called Lot OBingo!, will pay 60 percent of sales to the winners.

Arkeketa said the Ponca Tribe is the first Indian tribe in the U.S. to start a statewide proxy-played bingo game.

The government will collect sales tax on the reservations, Arkeketa said.