Dear Aunt Bingo,
picked up an issue of the Nevada edition of the Bingo
Bugle. I found that on page 30 there was posted a
picture of a lady who was the winner of $3,750 at a
casino power Bingo event. Then, on page 33 there is
posted a picture of the same lady but with a different
name and described as the winner of $500 for the early
bird at the same casino.
What happened? Is she one of
the people that the casinos hire for the big money
winner? I heard that the casinos hire people to come in
and play and they win the big money, and that money goes
back to the casino cage, and the person hired gets a
percentage of the win. —S.J., Henderson,
Nevada, via email
I contacted a staff member of the
Bingo Bugle’s Nevada Edition and checked out what you
discovered in the paper. What I learned, however, is not
nearly as sinister as what you proposed.
it is certainly not unusual for a person to win more
than one jackpot during a Bingo session. Granted, this
would not result in them changing their name, but it
could result in two photos being taken. If the wrong
caption ended up on one of the photos, it may be due to
the photographer making a notation error after
photographing the winner a second time.
theory aside, it is far more likely that the duplicate
photo was simply a design error.
When designers are
laying out the pages of the paper, some may use premade
templates to make the job easier. Sometimes they may use
a new template; other times they may open an old
template and “reuse” the text boxes and photo boxes,
stripping out the old pictures, stories and captions and
adding new ones.
The risk in using an old template,
however, is that sometimes the designer will fail to
remove all the old copy or images. As a result, the same
picture will accidentally not be removed, resulting in
its appearing more than once. Alternatively, and far
more simply, a new image may be inserted twice on
different pages in the course of page design without
However the error occurred, the
Nevada Edition certainly regrets the mistake.
Interestingly, a number of years ago the same edition
had an error in which a photo caption described a young
male player celebrating his birthday playing Bingo,
while the photo depicted an elderly woman at the Bingo
tables. That error made it all the way to The Tonight
Show with Jay Leno, where it was featured in one of
Leno’s segments on funny news stories.
response to your assertion that casinos hire people to
win jackpots and return them to the casinos…
a bit of a stretch to believe a casino would risk losing
its license, face criminal charges, or be shut down for
attempting to “steal” Bingo jackpots of a few hundred or
even several thousand dollars. And when the really big
jackpots happen, casinos go out of their way to
publicize the event, showcase the winner and entice more
players to visit. Would they really publicize a shill?
While preparing this column, I also Googled news stories
about Bingo scams/shills at casinos and found virtually
nothing—except for a story from the 1980s on a raid of
an Indian Bingo for using planted players. That said, I
of course welcome input from any casino Bingo pros out
there who know otherwise. —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.