New Bingo Trend Shows Uptown Bingo Attracting Young Players
Article published on July 25, 2011 01:09am
by Hannah Swales
Uptown bingo is attracting hordes of young, unemployed bingo players because of the large jackpots involved; and a couple of uptown bingo clubs in particular are using this latest trend to their advantage.Sharon Brown, a 44-year-old bingo player who visits West Side Hall regularly, admits that she uses her bingo winnings to pay bills. Ever since she lost her job a couple of years back, Brown has been playing more bingo than ever, even going to the extent of renting a computer for $25 and playing late into the night hours in the hope of winning jackpots worth thousands of dollars. Brown has been successful to a certain extent; she won $2000 last month and used it to pay her rent and utility bills. While admitting that bingo isn’t the ideal way to deal with her financial problems, she says that she gets good money. While older bingo players prefer playing in the basements of churches, the younger players flock to uptown bingo halls such as Washington Heights Arcade and West Side Hall, which are both state licensed. These uptown bingo facilities throw open their services at noon and close at 10:00 p.m. Speaking about the latest trend of younger people getting attracted to bingo, Belle Fisch, the owner of West Side Hall, says that younger people began trickling into uptown bingo halls a few years back and that the Saturday night bingo games are extremely popular among young couples. Playing bingo is cheaper than playing at casinos, she adds. Washington Heights Arcade is also witnessing a number of young people coming in to play bingo. Margaret Porfidio, a 69-year-old who regularly plays at Washington Heights, says that younger people are indeed getting attracted to uptown bingo, while simultaneously warning that it is a bad idea “to depend on bingo to pay rent or buy groceries.” Maria Grurion, a 31-year-old school teacher who also plays at Washington Heights Arcade, is aware that hitting a bingo jackpot isn’t easy, but that does not prevent her from visiting the Arcade frequently in the hopes of winning some lucrative prizes. She says: “You play to win. And if you win you can pay back bills. It doesn’t happen often, but it makes playing often worth it.” But it is so easy to get addicted to bingo, and player Porfidio warns that it is like playing at a casino; the only person who wins is the owner of the casino.