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High Court success for persecuted Bingo Club

  • 24 Dec 11
  • Written by Deena Chance

altBack in November, the Irish Times reported that Omega Leisure Ltd, a company running a Bingo Hall in Cork, won a court order against an overzealous gardai and what appeared to be his crusade to close down all gaming establishments in their area. News just in has shown that the court order has fallen in the favour of Omega Leisure and that in fact, their activities have been declared as totally lawful.

Omega Leisure Ltd, who operates the Rock Bingo Club in Togher, Cork, won a High Court declaration that their activities were completely lawful on 9th December. The declaration was sought after Garda superintendant Charles Barry led a raid on the premises in Deanrock, Togher, seizing files and preventing the day’s bingo session from taking place.

However, Justice Frank Clarke ruled that no damages would be demanded as a result of the raid. Omega Leisure’s arguments that Barry was guilty of misfeasance in public office was dismissed as were their claims for damages for trespass and the alleged unlawful detainment of possessions. These declarations were made in a decision on 9th December, detailing the key proceedings of the case.  Further reasoning behind the judgements will be given in full judgement on the case, due to be delivered in due course.

Omega Leisure Ltd entered into an agency agreement with the Mercy Hospital Foundation on October 12th and under this agreement, the company are allowed to run bingo games for the charity and is entitled to a maximum of 40% of the proceeds. This is not an unusual agreement and many other companies across Ireland are party to similar contracts.

Bingo Hideout readers will remember our previous article when we reported that Omega Leisure Ltd brought proceedings against The State, who denied any wrong doing and argued that the gardai should not be stopped from carrying out their duties in line with the 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act. Despite this, Omega Leisure were granted a declaration that its activities were not unlawful due to the fact that the licensee, in this case the Mercy Hospital Foundation, had entered into an agency agreement with the company to conduct the lottery, provided the agency fees paid to Omega didn’t reach over 40%of the proceeds.

The Judge found no reason that the Omega Leisure Company couldn’t continue offering lottery bingo games on behalf of the Mercy Hospital Foundation and that there was no grounds for the proper refusal of a license under the provisions of the Gaming Act.

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