Yelling ‘Bingo’ at the Wrong Time Could Result in Arrest

Yelling 'Bingo' at the Wrong Time Could Result in ArrestIn most bingo halls around the world players observe certain rules of etiquette. For example talking during games is a huge breach of etiquette and can actually result in the ejection of the offending player from the bingo hall. Sitting in someone’s ‘lucky’ seat is another breach of the rules. One of the worst things any player can do during a game is to call ‘bingo’ falsely. In Covington Kentucky yelling bingo at the wrong time can actually get players in trouble with the law as one very unlucky man found out.

Last month a man from Covington was arrested and charged with second-degree disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct charges are usually reserved for people causing a serious disruption and in many cases the offenders are intoxicated. 18 year old Austin Whaley found out the hard way that yelling bingo at the wrong time can result in punishment by a court of law. As part of his sentence Whaley was ordered by Kenton District Judge Douglas Grothaus not to say the word “bingo” for six months. Park Hills Police Sgt. Richard Webster, the officer who cited Whaley, told reporters “Just like you can’t run into a theater and yell ‘fire’ when it’s not on fire, you can’t run into a crowded bingo hall and yell ‘bingo’ when there isn’t one.”

On February 9th Webster was working as a security guard at a Covington bingo hall when Whaley entered with several youngsters and yelled ‘bingo.” In his citation Webster wrote “This caused the hall to quit operating since they thought someone had won. This delayed the game by several minutes and caused alarm to patrons.” Webster said the elderly crowd did not take kindly to Whaley’s actions. Webster recalled the incident and said “At first, everybody started moaning and groaning when they thought they’d lost. When they realized it wasn’t a real bingo, they started hooting and hollering and yelling and cussing. People take their bingo very seriously.”

Webster said that if Whaley would have apologized for his actions he would have sent him on his way with a warning but he refused to apologize. Webster told reporters “He seemed to think he could say whatever he wanted because it was a public building. I tried to explain that that’s not the case. Just because it’s a public building doesn’t give you the right to run into a theater and yell ‘fire.’  You can’t go into a ballpark and yell ‘out,’ because people could stop the game.” When Whaley appeared in court the judge told him “Do not say the word ‘bingo’ for six months.” Whaley could have received 90 days in jail and a $250 fine.

If Whaley, who has no criminal record, stays out of trouble for six months the charge will be dismissed and will not be on his record. Judge Grothaus said “He was remorseful in court. He was obviously a good kid who hadn’t been in trouble before. With all the other things that happen in the court system and the families you’re dealing with, you’ve got to keep a sense of humor.”

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