Vice Squad
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Bingo on Board

What diversions are there to pass the time on a US Navy warship? On the USS Kearsarge, you might play Bingo over shipboard closed-circuit television, according to this article in Stars and Stripes. You buy your gamecards in advance, and then you can play from wherever there's a tv on which you can watch the "action". There is something to be said for situating yourself close to the onboard television studio, though, because if two or more sailors achieve Bingo simultaneously, the first one to the studio wins the prize, which can range up to $50.

Is it legal for members of the US military to gamble when they are on a ship outside of the US territorial waters? I suppose so -- but you might have trouble if you are a noncommissioned or petty officer and gamble with a subordinate. The Stars and Stripes article makes a passing reference to shipboard "high stakes poker parties." Hmmm. The article also notes that special debit-style cards obviate the need to carry cash when you are on Navy vessels, even to pay your gambling losses.

Most Vice Squad Bingo fascination is with how the smoking ban has hurt British bingo halls. The latest British Bingo news is an intra-family dispute over how to split Bingo winnings -- of a cool one million pounds. This is not your grandmum's Bingo.

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