Vice Squad
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Bingo and Smoking; Bingo or Alcohol

Vice Squad has been trumpeting the smoking-ban induced decline in bingo for so long now that it is amazing there is any bingo left. But there is, and today the New York Times catches up to bingo/smoking ban complemetarity: "[Managers of charity bingo parlours] say smoking goes with bingo like peanut butter with jelly."

For the vice policy aficionado, however, this week's premier bingo-related story derives from Carlisle in the UK. Remember those ASBOs of questionable constitutionality (British constitutionality, that is)? One 23-year old gentleman had a history of being a troublesome drunk, so he was given an ASBO prohibiting him both from drinking and from patronising drinking establishments in Carlisle city centre. (Incidentally, the idea that a troublesome drunk can have his drinking privileges revoked is consistent both with Vice Squad's robustness principle and with John Stuart Mill's interpretation of his harm principle.) But this particular yob, er, gentleman, also enjoys a bingo hall in Carlisle. Alas, the bingo parlour is a drinking establishment (no longer a smoking establishment in England!), so the terms of his ASBO would keep him from bingo-ing. This will not stand, cried the Cumbrian magistrates, and voila, an exception was granted: he can go to the bingo hall, but he cannot drink there. (Vice Squad is touched by this act of mercy.) If the exception is abused via bingo-hall drinking or other unseemly behavior, there will be consequences to pay -- perhaps a curse will be imposed.

Vice Squad has been on the road, or at home, nodding; apologies for the interregnum.

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