Sunday, January 13, 2008
Two Successful Newspapers: The Wall Street Journal and the Bingo Bugle
A few days ago the front page of the Wall Street Journal featured an article about the Bingo Bugle, "a 720,000-circulation monthly distributed free of charge at bingo halls and casinos around the country." The WSJ, which generally covers a different type of gambling, was said to have worldwide circulation of its daily edition of about 2 million in 2006. The WSJ is nearly 120 years old, while Bingo Bugle is a mere 28-year old stripling. Besides bingo-related news, the Bugle also offers a popular advice column, "Dear Aunt Bingo." Like all pursuits, Bingo has spawned its own jargon. Two phrases from the current on-line Dear Aunt Bingo column are "scanning and daubing skills" and "should he Bingo" -- the latter from an interesting exchange about Braille Bingo.
The loyal Vice Squad reader will know that smoking bans and competition from other forms of gambling, among other factors, have been making life tough for Bingo lately. Recent bad news: a major operator of British bingo halls is threatening to close some of them, while a pub in Hartford, Connecticut, which had been hosting what I take to be moneyless Bingo nights for many years, was forced to stop the practice when the state got wind of the games after a local newspaper ran a story on the popular entertainment. If you think that governments are inefficient, you should know that the state tax men showed up the same day the article appeared. Then again, they did manage to overlook the Bingo for the previous, oh, 15 years or so. How did Hartford survive the scourge of unstaked bar Bingo for a generation?