Dear Aunt Bingo:
We received some crushing news tonight. One of my
favorite Bingos is closing its doors after more than 30
years of operation. This is the third Bingo to close in
my area in the past five years. And every time it has
been the exact same thing: No warning, just all of a
sudden an announcement that the Bingo will cease
This time I took the time to do some
investigating: I chased down the head of the games and
asked her directly why the Bingo was ending. She gave me
three reasons: fewer players, fewer volunteers, and no
one wanting to take over responsibility for the games
when she leaves. (She is retiring and she and her
husband are moving away.)
I love to play Bingo and I
love going to different small, neighborhood games, which
keeps it interesting. Luckily, there are still a number
of Bingos in operation in my town so I still have
options. But it worries me that like the three Bingos I
mentioned earlier, out of the blue they also may one day
decide to close their doors.
Do you know if this is
happening in other places? Do you have suggestions on
helping to keep Bingo going in the smaller venues?
—LuAnne, Illinois, via email
The Bingo Bugle is
dedicated to keeping Bingo alive and thriving in the USA
and beyond. We do this by supporting the Bingo community
through articles, photos, advertisements, gaming
directories and schedules, puzzles and games, websites,
Obviously, we are never happy to hear about
a Bingo game ending. Like you, we know that when it
comes to Bingo, the more games there are, the happier
Bingo players will be.
I give a lot of credit to the
people who step up and take charge of running charity
Bingos. It takes a lot of hours with no pay, the only
reward coming from knowing that the hard work results in
entertainment for Bingo players and much needed dollars
for the charities the games sponsor. That’s why,
whenever I catch a glimpse of a Bingo manager smiling
while on the job, I am always impressed.
Unfortunately, managers’ efforts only go so far. They
need volunteers to sell the paper, work the room, serve
the food, call the numbers and clean up the mess.
Equally important, managers need enough players filling
the chairs and spending money so that the Bingo games
can award good prize amounts with enough left over to
support charitable work.
If any of the ingredients
are missing, the Bingo is in jeopardy. Not enough
workers means backed up lines of disappointed players
and game delays. Dwindling numbers of players means lost
revenue, smaller jackpots and fewer games. Faced with
these challenges, what else can managers do but throw up
their hands, say, “I’m done!” and close up shop.
doesn’t take much to help a charity Bingo keep afloat.
You can volunteer on occasion when the games are
shorthanded. You can encourage more friends and family
to go with you to Bingo so there are more dollars coming
in. And you can certainly support the hard work of the
Bingo manager and crew by letting them know how much you
appreciate everything they do—not to mention thinking
twice about yelling at the caller or complaining about
the service of the volunteers. —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.