It is true that Bingo, on the surface, looks like a “game for older people.” In the United States, that is largely the way it is. But, in other parts of the world, it is becoming a younger and younger game. Because of our demographics, I thought I might say something about the older ones among us who love the game. I turned seventy earlier this year. But, when I play Bingo, sometimes I am the youngest person in the room. On the other hand, at most of the venues where I play, the employees, particularly the callers, are often more than forty years younger. Because of this, I would like to address this month’s column to not only my fellow players, but to the employees of Bingo halls.
To start with, the older ones among us deserve special treatment. It’s easy for those of us who are still rather agile to run roughshod over people with walkers or a slow gait. For about six weeks this year I had a spell of arthritis in one of my knees. It got so bad I had to walk with a cane. During that time I learned a lesson. At one session of Bingo I was nearly run over by a herd of people behind me who wanted to get to the parking lot first. That moment gave me a quick insight into what many people face all the time. My disability was not permanent, although as I age I know it will become more frequent.
We must be more cognizant of the needs of older players. And, one of those needs is louder and more understandable calling of the numbers. I would love to take some of the callers I have found in the past years who mumble and make them sit through a session back with the rest of us. I constantly hear people say, “WHAT was that number?” Many seniors have problems looking at the tote board. The bottom line is that the next time a caller mumbles, everyone in the hall should shout: WHAT WAS THAT NUMBER? Coupled with better-spoken calling is an increase in the volume of the PA systems. When “55” sounds like “65” there is a problem.
And, while I have the floor, one more thing: I am getting fed up with going to halls where the management ASSUMES that I know all the rules and understand the odd games. To make matters worse, if someone DOES read all the rules at the start of the session, he or she usually races through them, with no emphasis. The bottom line: Not everyone who walks into a hall has been there before nor knows the odd ins and outs of that hall.
See you next time! Write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drop me a line on the Internet: email@example.com. And, if you don’t have e-mail, a friend says you can use his physical address: DD, Box 5441, Palm Springs, CA, 92263.
When my financial advisor suggested that I set up a budget it sounded like a good idea. He explained that I would have a lot more Bingo money if I set up a plan and stuck to it. For example, he told me to look first at little ways around the house where I could cut down on expenses, and then look at items on my list of monthly bills that could be eliminated or reduced. He allotted a certain amount of my income for each item and advised me to spend no more than the amount set for each expenditure.
Naturally I was anxious to share all this with my Bingo buddies and they had lots of good ideas about ways to save money. I made a mental list.
1. Always turn the heat off when the A/C is running.
2. Chop off that long hair, Bev. Then you can wash it yourself and save yourself a bundle.
3. When you are driving and a downward hill lies ahead, take your foot off the gas and coast. You can coast further if you get a running start.
4. My son wasn’t too happy that two of the three light bulbs in his bedroom light fixture have disappeared. I tried to explain that it doesn’t take three bulbs to light a room and that I needed to save money where I can. He had a couple suggestions, but I don’t want to part with my smart phone games or my wine.
5. Coffee is still good, even if it is three hours old. You can add a cup or two of water to the well and it freshens up the old coffee.
6. Avoid the casino…sort of.
7. Be wary of sales at the grocery store. When I met Marge there she looked at my cart and asked why I bought six boxes of baking powder. Come to think of it, I wonder too. I’ve never baked anything in my life, but it was such a good price.
After three months of living in the austerity of a monastery, my life got complicated. The power company wanted a hundred dollars to turn the furnace back on. I got a speeding ticket, and the officer didn’t believe me when I told him I didn’t have my foot on the gas pedal so I couldn’t have been speeding. When I met friends on the street they weren’t sure if I was Bev, or just a girl with a Mohawk. My son threatened to move out of this “dark house.” If he moves, how would I get to Bingo and who would pick me up and take me home?
Marge won’t stop by for coffee anymore. She’s trying to say my coffee is old and weak.
My cupboard is full of stuff I will never use, purchased only because the sale price was so great.
Now my financial advisor wants to be paid for his awesome advice.
Contact Bev at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Aunt Bingo:
At a casino in Las Vegas, everyone who buys a Bingo card gets a free card that has the lowest payout. I think that “free” card they give you helps the house not the player because everyone gets it and it increases the odds that the lowest payout card will be a winner. Also, almost every player pays $1 to validate that free card which means the house collects all those dollars. What do you think?
FV, East Rockaway, NY, via email
As a general rule, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that any gaming that happens in Las Vegas—or at any other casino worldwide—is going to favor the house. All those flashing lights, clanging bells and discount dinner buffets don’t pay for themselves!
Your thinking strikes me as correct—the more lowest-payout cards on the floor means the greater odds that one of them will be the one that Bingos. The $1 validation is odd; it’s so little money, you wonder why the casino bothers to collect it. My guess is that there is some legal reason behind it. By paying a dollar, the card isn’t really “free,” but has been purchased through this validation process. —Aunt Bingo
Dear Aunt Bingo:
Our high school wants to have a fundraiser and my idea is to have a Bingo night. I mentioned this to one of the other parents and she said it sounds like it would be fun but that it might be illegal because Bingo is gambling and is controlled by the state. Is this true? And if so, does that mean that every time somebody plays Bingo that is not state-supervised that #1, it is gambling and #2, they are breaking the law? This seems pretty far-fetched to me.
Lee J., Ohio, via email
It’s not Bingo itself which is regulated by the state, but the wagering part of Bingo, where people pay money with the hope of winning more money by playing the game. It’s the same as in a casino, where people feed money into slot machines or wager at the tables: they are handing over their money with the goal of taking away more. And wherever money is being exchanged for the chance to collect more money, there is always the danger of cheating, crime and corruption slipping in. This results in the need for government supervision and laws to keep gaming safe and fair.
Bingo and casino nights are great fundraisers, and are perfectly fine so long as people are not trying to win money. Instead, they compete for prizes, typically donated by sponsors, local retailers and the like. There are actually businesses that help run these types of fundraisers and provide the equipment and help you need to make the event a success. All you need to do is search the web under “casino night equipment rental” or “Bingo night equipment rental” for a company near you.
When running this type of fundraiser, it never hurts to contact your local gaming commission to make sure you aren’t breaking any laws. The equipment rental company will also be helpful in this area, as the last thing they want to do is be put out of business by the state. —Aunt Bingo
Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in 1882 in New York. The celebration of Labor Day was to be a street parade to exhibit to the public the strength of the labor organizations, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This has become the pattern for Labor Day celebrations, but it also marks the beginning of the school year and the last family holiday before the start of fall. We decided to find the biggest celebration we could and get a piece of it.
It turned out to be in a small town in Idaho named Appleton where the parade was very special and the speeches very grand. We drove there the day before, registered at a bed and breakfast, and proceeded to look over the town. It was a lumber mill town, very low key and given up to families with lots of children. They had a fine Bingo Hall where we were privileged to play the day before the celebration.
It was a simple, straightforward Bingo game with about forty participants. We were made welcome and asked our neighbors about the Labor Day celebration.
“It’s a goodun’,” said an old lady, “They parade and drink and have a high old time.”
“There’s more to it than that,” said a young man. “We really honor laborers in this little community. We like to think of them as the backbone of our country, especially us potato farmers. We work hard.”
“Yes, you do, Josh,” said the old lady. “Exceptin’ when you’re in here playing Bingo. Then you’re just a terror on wheels.”
The first Bingo game started then and Josh won as predicted, but he was modest and unassuming with his win and made a good impression. Then we learned he was the town crooner because he sang as he played. He had a pleasant voice and it made a nice accompaniment to the game. No one objected.
The next game was a double Bingo, which I happily won. And so it went on into the evening, excepting halftime, which was very special. Instead of the regular snacks usually provided, they served a huge mac and cheese and tuna casserole, which proved to be delicious. I didn’t realize how hungry I was and went back for seconds, astonishing Kate who was used to my rather picky eating habits.
We played through the rest of the evening, Josh winning twice and again being very modest about his wins. “He usually takes home more than he spends on the buy-in,” said the old lady. “I tell him he should try Las Vegas, but he just laughs at me.”
We went away feeling happy and welcomed in this little town and returned to our B&B, feeling replete.
The next day was bright, clear and warm and we enjoyed a bountiful breakfast before the parade at noon. Words fail to describe that spectacular parade. It was truly a tribute to labor. There were about twenty flat bed trucks with scenes depicted on their backs. There was one with men plowing and harvesting, another with men sawing lumber. There was one with women washing clothes on washboards, another cooking, one with two men, two women, all with laptops. A teacher taught several little ones, a banker counted money, a policeman stood guard, and my favorite of all—there was Josh daubing at a Bingo card just as if it were real work.
We loved the parade and joined in the celebration afterwards where we were invited to eat with three different families and listen to the speeches. The speeches were political, and we were ready to head for home at that point anyhow, having had a great celebration.