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Bingo Binge Before Retirement?

Dear Aunt Bingo:

I have a book of Bingo gift certificates from a big local Bingo center I have gone to for many years.

Recently my husband and I retired, and we are moving away soon to make our vacation home our permanent home. I took my book of certificates to the Bingo and asked to cash them in because I would not have a chance to use them all before we left. The people in charge said the certificates were not refundable, even though they have a cash value printed right on them. Do you think this is right? Any suggestions on what I should do about this?

Tina G., Connecticut


Dear Tina:

Most retailers who offer gift cards and gift certificates have a list of exclusions that go along with them, and right at the top of the list is that the cards/certificates cannot be redeemed for cash, but may only be used for the purchase of goods and services. (I am actually quite surprised this isnít printed somewhere in your certificated book!)

While you canít get cash back on them, you might consider spreading a little cheer by gifting them to a family member or friend, selling them at a discount to another player, or perhaps donating them to a charity (and possibly getting a tax deduction for your gift).

Then again, thereís always the option of gathering together a few friends and binge-Bingoing your way through them before you leave town. What a fun way to begin retirement! óAunt Bingo


Dear Aunt Bingo:

Iím curious if there are regulations that determine the age limit of people who play Bingo. Specifically, I am talking about children in Bingo halls.

I think kids should not be allowed at Bingo for two reasons.

Foremost, I believe it is not good for them to be around gambling at such a young age. And Bingo is gambling! We all know that there is a definite physical/mental reaction when a player gets close to winning or wins. If kids are exposed to this same physical experience, might it not lead to potential addiction down the road?

The second reason is a little more selfish: I find it hard to concentrate on my Bingo when there are young children sitting near me making noise and being bothersome.

If a parent has not learned to control their kids, the last thing they should do is take them to a public place like a Bingo hall and expect those kids to sit still for hours on end while mom/dad plays. Kids want to be kids and sitting still in a chair for a long time is not what kids want to do!

I think there should be a national law banning anyone below the age of 18 or even 21 from attending Bingo halls, casinos, racetracks and anywhere else gambling takes place.

Concerned Adult, Arizona


Dear Concerned:

We receive letters on this topic regularly, and yours hits on the two key issues that come up most: Should children be permitted in Bingo halls to play Bingo, and should kids be allowed in Bingo halls because children tend to be fussy and noisy.

As a kid who grew up playing Bingo, I found it a fun pastime that I continue to enjoy as an adult. As such, I have no problem with young people being allowed in Bingo halls to play. That said, I understand that many people do not agree with this, and that some states have regulations that ban young people of various ages from Bingo halls. I respect lawmakersí desire to have such regulations and abide by whatever the law states.

Kids who are not playing Bingo and who are well behaved are certainly welcome at my Bingo table. But the minute they start acting up they need to go. óAunt Bingo


Have you ever had an unforgettable Bingo-hall dining experience? Write to Aunt Bingo at one of the addresses below and share what made it so memorable!    

Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at 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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