Bingo Halls and Crimes of Opportunity

For the most part players attending games at bingo halls are safe but there have been some exceptions. Most major bingo hall crimes such as robberies take place after all of the players have left and the staff remains behind with large amounts of cash. Thieves see bingo halls as an easy target since they usually have large amounts of cash on hand after games. Most of the crimes that take place while games are being played are crimes of opportunity. It is always advisable for bingo players to keep track of their personal possessions while attending game sessions.

In Fenton UK customer Victoria Smith was celebrating her big win of £301 pounds from a fruit machine. (In the UK slots are called fruit machines) Unfortunately the voucher from the machine was stolen by sneak thief Dean Ward. Ward stole the voucher from the machine and cashed it. Ward cashed the voucher before Ms. Smith could retrieve it from the fruit machine. When Mrs. Smith went to redeem the voucher she was told that was only 10p credit on it.  It is not clear how Smith got the voucher back.

Ward admitted stealing the vouched on June 15th during a recent court appearance. 27-year-old Ward has been ordered by the court to pay Smith £301 compensation and another £30 for court costs. Ward told the court he committed the crime of opportunity because he was ‘down on his luck.’ Prosecutor  Clair Moss told the court “Victoria Smith had won £301 and she pressed the ‘collect’ button. But when she tried to use the voucher in another machine it didn’t work. She took it to staff and it only had 10p left on it. Staff checked CCTV footage and saw two males had used the machine straight after. They had approached the machine and one of them was seen to pull the voucher straight out. Ward admitted playing at Gala Bingo. He said he came across the ticket and thought his luck was in. He was down on his luck at the time.”

Ward’s case is a good example of the type of petty crime that could take place in any bingo hall. Fortunately most bingo halls have excellent security systems and the criminals are caught most of the time. A recent article on a bingo blog said that some players are turning to online bingo because of crimes at bingo halls. Most in the industry say their fears are misplaced and it is still safe to venture out for a night of bingo.

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