Vice Squad
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Bingo Fights Back?

The huge growth in legal gambling in the US in the past two decades
has been concentrated in lotteries, casinos, card rooms, and
bookmaking. Some old standbys, notably bingo and horse racing,
have been left behind in relative terms, and in some instances,
in absolute terms as well. Today's Chicago Tribune, however,
includes this article on some of the ways that church bingo is
adapting to meet the competition. Seems that the technology of
bingo is changing -- players can participate by means of a hand-held
computer, into which they punch the chosen cell. By using a computer,
a bingo-er can simultaneously play up to 216 cards at once. Some
40% of the players at Thursday night bingo at St. Barbara Catholic
Church in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago now use the
computers. Nevertheless, attendance has been halved from its
peak, which apparently was reached before casino boats were
available in the Chicagoland region.

The connection between smoking and bingo also is diminishing,
apparently. One of the two bingo halls at St. Barbara has gone

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