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Callers helping
Defining the rules

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 earlier).
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 the win!
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

Dear Puzzled,
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.
My 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. —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.

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