‘Bingo Bouncers’ Keep Games Safe

bingo bouncersBingo is a form of gambling that most people so not associate with crime. No one has ever heard about a mafia run bingo game and crimes are rare at most bingo halls. In the UK since bingo halls are a cash business and keep large amounts of cash on hand they have been targets for robbers on occasion and players that have won large amounts of money have been mugged on the way home. In Ireland the Cappamore Bingo Committee are braving the rain and cold to make sure that the only winners are inside the hall on Thursday nights.

While bouncers are rare at bingo halls the committee patrols the parking lot outside the bingo hall on game nights. In recent months there has been a spate of thefts and car vandalism in Cappamore, Doon and Pallasgreen. Car windows have been smashed and items ranging from purses to mobile phones were stolen from vehicles. Last year the Gardai (Police) arrested a man for five separate thefts in East Limerick. The man pleaded guilty and the judge asked for his suitability to be assessed for 120 hours of community service instead of three months in prison.

Every Thursday 350 players descend on the Cappamore Community Centre from all over Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Cork for their regular bingo games. Oliver Dillon, of the bingo committee, said they want their patrons to enjoy the without worrying whether their car is going to be damaged or robbed. Dillon told reporters “It is sad that we have to man the car-park. It is an indictment of society; all it takes is one guy to cause havoc. The Gardaí can’t be everywhere. We have always been careful but we have taken it to a different level because of the break-ins that were occurring in outlying areas in recent times. There has been vandalism and cars broken into. We have a camera system in place which we are planning on upgrading too.”

Every Thursday there are hundreds of cars to watch at the center. The games start at 8:30 and finish at about 10:30 on Thursdays. Committee members take turns watching the parking lot to make sure the cars remain safe and undamaged. Dillon stated “There is always a visible presence. No one will pass up and down the road that won’t be seen.” The committee cooperates with police and regular patrols take place on Thursday evenings. The bingo games have taken place for 37 years and have funded a number of community projects. Since the patrols started not one car has been damaged and Dillon says the committee intends to keep it that way.

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