Seniors Less Than Thrilled About Bingo Ban

Seniors Less Than Thrilled About Bingo BanLast year the town of Bald Knob Arkansas made national news and provided fodder for late night comedians when the town banned bingo games at the town’s senior center. For many seniors bingo is their only chance to get out of the house and socialize with their friends. Just like any community Bald Knob has those that think they know what’s good for everyone and the town’s bluenoses were out in force at a town council meeting. A local ‘minister’ with a very unchristian lack of compassion for many seniors spearheaded the move to ban bingo in Bald Knob.

Bald Knob is a small town about an hour’s drive from Little Rock. The town’s move to ban bingo was the first of its kind since Arkansas legalized charitable gaming seven years ago. ‘Religious’ leaders and professional killjoys lobbied the council to ban ‘gambling’ on Bald Knob. The town’s council voted unanimously to ban the games at the senior center. Bingo player Joyce Landers echoed the sentiments of many and said “We don’t have nowhere to go and it’s an enjoyment for us.” The town’s backward move comes at a time when many states are legalizing gambling including online bingo. Several states have expanded gaming options to address massive budget deficits.

Landers is a regular player and often attends games with her granddaughter. Both bring snacks to the games and Landers is expecting her 28th grandchild soon. A nonprofit county program started the bingo nights and the money generated by the games is used for a variety of senior events. According to Bald Knob Mayor Doyle Wallace a few seniors who disapprove of gambling have stopped coming to the center. Viola Moore, who lives near the center, is one of the local bluenoses opposed to the bingo games. In a statement betraying a lack of knowledge of our constitution Moore told reporters “This is a Christian community and we don’t go along with certain things. I was there when we had the (council) meeting and I said ‘Hallelujah.”

The ‘reverend’ Larry Johnson, who headed the opposition to bingo refused to answer questions from reporters. Marcia Pressler, program director with the White County Aging Program, said the ban will hit seniors hard thanks to a tiny minority of protestors. Pressler told reporters “It really makes me sad that they could take something like (bingo) and make it sound so bad.” It is truly a shame when a very tiny minority can dictate policies to the majority.

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