Strange Bingo News and Oddities

Strange Bingo News and OdditiesThis month has been full of strange news stories about weird happenings at bingo games. This week in Florida two men in their 80’s got into a serious brouhaha over a parking spot at a local bingo game. An 84 year old man is accused of pepper spraying a 67 year old man in a fight over a parking spot. The victim, security guard Michael Burke, had placed crates in two handicapped parking spots to save them for two women he knew. Unfortunately, before the women arrived Donald Handa drove up, removed the crates and parked. When confronted by Burke the two men began fighting and Handa whipped out his pepper spray and maced Burke. Police were called to the incident. Burke declined to press charges because of Handa’s age.

In the UK two ladies in their 60’s got into a donnybrook after one player accused the other of calling bingo too early.  The incident took place in sheltered housing (assisted living in the US) and police were called. Officers were nonplussed when they realized the age of the bingo brawlers. Police officer Ellis who was one of the responders told reporters “They didn’t want her arrested. I think it was just the shock of what had happened more than anything. The housing officer there didn’t over-react; she wasn’t really sure what to do in that situation. It was one of the first calls of our evening shift and it’s definitely not the usual type of call we get.” A spokesperson for the housing council said “We have given one woman a tenancy warning about her future conduct.” In other words if she doesn’t behave herself she could lose her housing.

In New York state petty state officials made the news when they demanded that a senior’s penny bingo game pay a state fee to operate. The New York Gaming Commission said the elderly ladies must pay a $450 fee to the state. The Penny Bingo Club which has been holding games for years said that they could not afford the excessive fee. Penny Bingo Club member Marlene McCormick said “It’s a sin because that’s your only enjoyment when you get old.” Lee Park, director of communications at the New York State Gaming Commission, was unsympathetic and unapologetic and said the group must pay the state $18.75 every time they hold a penny bingo game.

Park said that because bingo is a game of chance it must be regulated and the state must have its pound of flesh. Plattsburgh Housing Authority Executive Director Lori Cantwell said the ladies in the group were overwhelmed and do not want to deal with petty officials from the gaming commission. Club member Lucille Wilkins pointed out that bingo is not a high stakes game with huge jackpots. She said that when someone in the group wins the jackpot is pennies which usually go back in the next game. Wilkins said the state gave no warning and told reporters “I’ve been playing bingo for 32 years, and I can’t see why we need to pay a state tax to play.” If politicians in New York are looking for waste in government the gaming commission would be a good place to start!

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