September 19, 2018 10:26 PM
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division is conducting an investigation at the Roseville Bingo Hall after allegations of theft and embezzlement involving staff were reported to them by the Roseville Area Youth Hockey Association.
The hockey association has a charitable gambling license to operate bingo and pull-tab games to raise money in an effort to lower the cost of the sport for hundreds of children.
The RAYHA said they reported the tip back in July, the night they learned of it. They then fired three staff members earlier this week after getting an update on the case from the state.
"It feels like it's a slap in the face, a punch in the gut and a knife in the back at the same time - it doesn't feel good," board member Andy Skoogman said.
"It doesn't feel good for all the volunteers that are trying to open up access to more kids to play a sport that will teach them lifelong lessons."
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The most current records from the Minnesota Gambling Control Board report from fiscal year 2017 showed the bingo hall netted $1.43 million dollars.
"In Roseville, charitable gambling has certainly helped open up access to this sport to families that probably couldn't afford it," Skoogman said.
The players' parents heard about the situation at a meeting Wednesday night — the amount missing was not disclosed.
RAYHA said previous audits conducted on the Bingo Hall matched. But then the "serious and specific tip" raised allegations of 'skimming the books.'
The hockey group plans to use their reserve funds to help get kids on the ice.
"There is going to be no hiccup in this season - the season is going to go on," said RAYHA president Gretchen Hopeman, who is also a parent. "It's going to be bigger and better than ever."
No charges have been filed in the case.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS left messages with one of the fired employees seeking comment, but did not hear back.
The Midway Speedskating Club also operates charitable gambling at that bingo hall with separate staff. That group's board told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the state investigation does not involve any of their staff or group.
Updated: September 19, 2018 10:26 PM
Created: September 19, 2018 08:47 PM
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