Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

TOP STORY >>Bingo fever just keeps spreading

Leader staff writer

Bingo fever keeps growing ever since the state allowed legalized charitable bingo games the first week of August.

On Aug. 2, 125 bingo and raffling permits were issued by the state. That number has grown to 240 statewide, with two new bingo gaming permits issued in the area, according to the Department of Finance and Administration’s listing of bingo and raffle permit accounts.

At Sherwood’s Moose Lodge bingo hall, “Every day the lodge is getting phone calls every 15 to 20 minutes about when and which days the games are played,” said Becky West, cashier.

She continued, “Thursday night we had 170 people. Players were buying extra cards. There is still a lot of interest.”
Using bingo to fund nonprofit organizations is becoming more popular.

The Jacksonville Senior Center, 100 Victory Circle, is hosting its first official bingo games 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17.
The center plans to host games on the first and third Mondays of the month.

On Friday, the center will have a practice run of bingo operations for senior center members. Small prizes instead of money will be awarded during the games.

The center has installed additional electrical outlets for the bingo hall and will add drapes to hide the bingo board when it’s not in use.

“The events are to help provide extra income to help with senior activities,” said David Adamson, Jacksonville Senior Center activities director.

Adamson also said the bingo hall will help assist with overhead costs at the center, which hosts an arts and crafts show and receives grants from organizations such as the United Way.

He said the center assists and helps promote independent living for seniors and delivers Meals on Wheels and serves lunches at the center, all are expensive.

With several bingo halls in the area, players have many choices of where to play.

“I was told people are shopping around at the different bingo halls, seeing which one they like better,” said Kennneth Fraley, vice president of the South Bend Firefighters Association.

Bingo is played only at 7 p.m. Friday at the South Bend Volunteer Fire Station.

Fraley said, “Everything is running smoothly. We are averaging 55 to 70 each night.”

The King’s Outreach, a non-profit organization helping the homeless and the needy with its two thrift stores in Cabot and Jacksonville, opened a bingo hall in Gravel Ridge.

Business is “pretty good. We are maintaining our crowd, with the same people coming in since the first night,” said Jacki Klatt, operator.

Thursdays seem to be drawing the larger crowds and he said he’s determined to offer the number- one bingo service in the area.