Dear Aunt Bingo,
I play at several
Bingo Halls in California, and I’ve always understood that
the only persons that can play your cards or machine are
either you or one of the workers on the floor—say, if you
have to go to the restroom or get an important phone call
and have to step outside.
At the Bingo hall I play at
on Friday nights, the caller was working the floor one
night and I happened to buy $20 of one flash game and
ended up getting numbers on all but one flash card. Since
they were playing the flash game along with the Bingo
game, I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep track of all those
numbers, so I asked her if she would mind helping me as
I’ve seen her do for other players numerous times. She
agreed to help me out.
The next time I was there, the
same caller saw me buying flash and told me not to buy too
many because she was not really supposed to play them for
me as she had the previous visit, and that no one else was
allowed to. If someone else was playing my flash and I
won, she wouldn’t be able to pay me the winnings because
that is the rule.
Last evening I got to Bingo late
after the games had started and my girlfriend informed me
that she had won the “big” flash game prior to my getting
to the hall. She also told me that she wasn’t even at the
hall when her flash numbers won: She had a friend playing
her numbers and machine for her while she did some errands
(although she’d gone in and bought the flash cards herself
She told me her friend phoned her just as the
caller was paying the winnings for the flash. I asked her
if the caller working on the floor knew it wasn’t the
friend’s flash and she said yes, because the caller paying
him had gotten on the phone and was joking with her about
This was a $2,400 flash payout and I was happy
for my friend, but I do not feel it was fair that the
rules were not followed. I really do not want anyone to
get upset with me, but if I have to follow the Bingo hall
rules, then why doesn’t everyone? —Puzzled
Player, via email
Your letter reflects precisely why
there are rules and regulations established for Bingo, and
why deviation from those rules, whatever the reason, can
lead to problems.
In the first instance, you asked the
caller working the floor for help (which she kindly
provided) even though it appears that you both knew full
well that this was against the rules. I’m guessing she
later had second thoughts about it and, when she saw you
buying flash, decided to explain the rule—which she may
have assumed you didn’t know and that she would be
enforcing in the future.
The troublesome part is that
you say you have seen her help other players in the same
way. This tells me that for whatever reason, she, and
perhaps other workers, sometimes enforce the rules and
sometimes don’t—a move that obviously upset you because
you felt singled out.
This “selective” rule enforcement
shows up again with your example of an “absentee” player
whose cards were being played by someone who was present.
Perhaps the caller/worker is less stringent with this rule
because she isn’t being asked to play other people’s
games, as you had asked her to do. But whatever her
thinking, she now has a player—you—who is not happy with
these rule violations and wants to take action.
suggestion is that you take this issue up directly with
the caller/worker in question. You might also wish to
contact the Bureau of Gambling Control within the
California Department of Justice (916-227-3584), which
regulates charity Bingo in your state, to be sure you
fully understand the regulations in question.
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.