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Cheating: Not As Easy as People Think

Dear Aunt Bingo:
As a Bingo Bugle reader, Bingo worker and Bingo player, I continue to be amazed by people who think that wives, husbands, and other relatives of hall workers, and workers who also play Bingo in their free time, somehow have some kind of “in” and win more than anyone else.
What is this magical power they think we have? Bingo paper is printed and distributed by independent vendors. The numbers on the Bingo paper are random. So are the numbers that the caller calls. The caller is sitting on a stage where everyone in the room can see him or her. The balls are tumbled in a sealed glass chamber that everyone can see into. There are monitors connected to cameras that show each ball as it comes up.
The whole Bingo gaming process is quite fair, random, and easy for everyone in the room to “supervise.” Why, then, do I see letters in yours and other writers’ columns from readers who think there is cheating going on, particularly with family members and Bingo workers who sometimes play? And it’s not just letters: I have experienced firsthand accusations of somehow cheating when I win, and so have other Bingo workers I have heard stories from and people we are related to.
Just this week I was playing Bingo at a hall where I am not a worker. There were many players there who I recognized from the hall where I do work, and they recognized me.
I had a lucky night and managed to Bingo on one of the games. When I did, a woman sitting at the table across from me gives me a dirty look and says, “Figures.” A woman sitting with her gives me a dirty look as well and says, “Yeah, right?”
Obviously this bothered me (and not for the first time), and I decided to say something. “Excuse me?” I said. “Do you have a problem with me winning?”
Without hesitation, the first woman said: “It’s really interesting how often I see Bingo workers win. It happens all the time.”
“It’s fishy,” her companion added.
“You have got to be kidding,” I said, and proceeded to rattle off the list of facts I mentioned earlier in this letter about the randomness of Bingo, and that I didn’t appreciate their attempts to spoil my enjoyment of winning or insinuating that I had somehow magically cheated my way to a split $150 jackpot.
My accusers just sat there silently, with no apology or even an acknowledgment of what I’d said. Fortunately, I did get quite a few smiles and nods from other players who heard me, plus a nice pat on the shoulder from the Bingo worker who brought me my winnings.
Aunt Bingo, please ask your readers to be a little more thoughtful about accusing innocent players of cheating, just because they have some kind of “inside connection” to the game. Yes, I am a worker who also likes to play and yes, my sister and mom like Bingo and happen to be related to me. But no, we have absolutely no inside track to cheating other players out of “their” prize money.
Fed Up in Nevada

Dear Fed Up:
Wow, I wish I’d been in that Bingo hall when you made your speech. I’m sure it will be a long time before those players accuse anyone else of cheating!
I hope you know that when we publish letters from readers who make claims of cheating or fixed games, it is not because we necessarily agree with them. We believe that if someone is willing to take the time to send in a letter or email to us on a Bingo-related topic, then it is obvious that they feel strongly about that subject and are looking for a forum to express their opinion and get some type of feedback.
Let’s see what kind of feedback your letter receives. —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 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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