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RULE §402.706Schedule of Sanctions

(a) The purpose of this section is to provide guidance for administering sanctions to licensees and other persons that violate the Bingo Enabling Act and/or the Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules. The Schedule of Sanctions attached to §402.706(c) provides a list of the most common violations and the sanctions generally assessed for those violations, though the Commission may deviate from the schedule if it has a reasonable basis to do so. The objectives for applying sanctions are to protect the public, encourage compliance with the Bingo Enabling Act and the Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules, deter future violations, offer opportunities for rehabilitation as appropriate, punish violators, and deter others from committing violations. This section is intended to promote consistent sanctions for similar violations, facilitate timely resolution of cases and encourage settlements.

(b) The Commission, through the Director of the Charitable Bingo Operations Division or their designee, may offer settlements to persons charged with violating the Bingo Enabling Act and/or the Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules.

(c) Unless otherwise provided by this subchapter, the terms and conditions of a settlement agreement between the Commission and a person charged with violating the Bingo Enabling Act and/or the Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules will be based on the Schedule of Sanctions incorporated into this section.

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(d) The following words and terms, when used in this section and §402.707, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

  (1) Bingo Enabling Act--Occupations Code, Chapter 2001.

  (2) Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules--Texas Administrative Code, Title 16, Part 9, Chapter 402.

  (3) Licensee--a person issued a license under Occupations Code, Chapter 2001, or a Unit.

  (4) Organization--a licensee, an applicant for a license, or a person required to obtain a bingo license.

  (5) Respondent--a person responsible for answering a charge of violating the Bingo Enabling Act and/or the Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules.

  (6) Sanctions--revocation and suspension of a license, denial or an original or renewal application, denial of a bingo worker registry application, removal from the registry of bingo workers, administrative penalty, and warning letter.

(e) The Commission shall render the final decision in a contested case and has the responsibility to assess sanctions against licensees who are found to have violated the Bingo Enabling Act and/or the Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules. The Commission welcomes any recommendation of an administrative law judge as to the appropriate sanctions imposed, but the Commission is not necessarily bound by such recommendations. A determination of the appropriate sanction is reserved to the Commission consistent with the Bingo Enabling Act.

(f) Additional remedies may be imposed along with or in lieu of sanctions, which may include: a redeposit of funds to the bingo account; a removal of funds from the bingo account; or a disbursement of net proceeds in order to comply with the charitable distribution requirement.

(g) A settlement agreed to under this section shall be in the form of a written Memorandum of Agreement and Consent Order prepared by the Commission that must be signed by both parties. A Memorandum of Agreement and Consent Order shall contain findings of fact and conclusions of law. The conditions of the settlement, including the imposition of sanctions, shall be completed within the time frame provided for in the settlement. Failure to comply with the conditions of the settlement may subject the respondent to further administrative action.

(h) The list of violations in the Schedule of Sanctions is not an exclusive list of violations of the Bingo Enabling Act or the Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules.

(i) If a person is charged with a repeat violation within 36 months (3 years) of a previous violation, then the sanction for a repeat violation will be imposed according to the Schedule of Sanctions for repeat violations.

(j) The sanction(s) imposed will be determined by considering the following factors, as applicable:

  (1) seriousness of the violation which includes the nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of the prohibited acts;

  (2) history of previous violations which includes:

    (A) the number of previous violations; and

    (B) the number of repeated violations;

  (3) the action(s) necessary to deter future violations;

  (4) efforts to correct the violation after awareness of the violation through personal knowledge or notification by the commission;

  (5) any other matter that justice may require, including:

    (A) whether the violation was intentional, inadvertent, simple negligence, gross negligence, or the unavoidable result of a related violation;

    (B) cooperation with the Commission during its examination, audit, or investigation of the person;

    (C) length of time the licensee has held a license;

    (D) risk to the public or state;

    (E) whether the organization or person has acknowledged a violation and agreed to comply with the terms and conditions of remedial action through an agreed settlement with the Commission; and

    (F) the cost of the investigation, examination or audit associated with the violation.

(k) If the Director or the Director's designee and the authorized representative for the respondent agree, the two parties may utilize §402.707, Expedited Administrative Penalty Guideline as alternative guidance related to this subsection.

(l) The Commission may impose lesser sanctions than those listed in the Schedule of Sanctions for a particular violation if mitigating circumstances exist, including mitigating circumstances described in §402.706(j)(5)(A) - (E).

Source Note: The provisions of this §402.706 adopted to be effective April 25, 2006, 31 TexReg 3383; amended to be effective August 1, 2016, 41 TexReg 5505

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