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Bingo Player Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Theft

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Bingo Player Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Theft

Gambling addiction is rare among bingo players but occasionally an unfortunate player will develop an addiction to the game. Only a few have engaged in criminal activity to fund their addictions and when they are caught the case usually received extensive media coverage. In the UK there were several cases last year involving thefts by bingo players that lost control. In May 2011 a home care manager stole £90,000 from patients to fund her bingo habit. In November 2011 another player was sentenced to 15 months in prison for stealing £42,000 from a close friend to feed her bingo habit.

The most recent case involves a woman who stole from an elderly neighbor she was taking care of. Barbara Taylor helped to look after her disabled neighbor who had health problems and deteriorating mobility. Taylor succumbed to temptation and used the woman’s credit and debit cards to withdraw cash at bingo halls. Records show that Taylor withdrew a total of £11,670 cash to spend on bingo games and slot machines. She also spent £136 for camping equipment and tanning cream. Taylor used the cards at a local bingo hall to withdraw cash.

The thefts came to light after her 77 year old victim noticed that her accounts had been emptied and her direct debits were unpaid. At the same time Taylor was working as a volunteer at the Willow project which helps women with alcohol problems. The case eventually made its way through the courts and the judge sentenced Taylor to 12 months in prison. At the sentencing the presiding judge Bryn Holloway stated “Such was the nature of your friendship she entrusted you with the details of her bank cards so you could do shopping for her. It is clear initially you did so honestly but the time came when you turned from using the account as she intended to a way she never expected.” The judge acknowledged that Taylor had provided valuable assistance to her neighbor but said that the thefts merited jail time.

Judge Holloway said it was clear that Taylor had not spent the money on an extravagant lifestyle but that only a custodial sentence was appropriate in Taylor’s case. Taylor’s defense counsel said that Taylor had been genuinely caring for her friend but succumbed to temptation. Had Taylor played online bingo most likely the thefts would have been found out much sooner. Most UK online bingo sites have programs in place to identify problem gamblers. In addition most bingo sites provide links to organizations that treat gambling addiction. Online bingo sites use sophisticated software to identify problem players making online bingo one of the safest games on the internet.

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