Marilyn Vos Savant: People on the street seem to be getting younger. At what age will I be older than most people? If you’ve passed your 38th birthday, you’re already older than half of the U.S population. But this feeling of “middle age” could be worse. In Uganda and the Gaza Strip, you’re older than half of your fellow citizens by the time you’re 16.
We celebrated Leslie’s birthday this weekend. Dinner, dessert and bingo last night, and brunch with friends today.
Four of us (the “Fab Four”) have been playing bingo together for years and we long ago decided we’d play as partners. When one of us wins, we all share in the winnings! You’d think that bingo is an old-lady game, but I beg to differ. Granted, the four of us are some of the youngest players, but we don’t mind. No matter how grumpy we are, there are several people are even grumpier.
Who hasn’t played bingo? Bingo is a game of chance, not skill, played with different randomly drawn numbers which players match against numbers that have been pre-printed on 5×5 cards. The cards may be printed on paper or card stock, or electronically printed, and many versions conclude the game when the first person achieves a specified pattern from the drawn numbers. The winner is usually required to call out the word BINGO, which alerts the other players and caller of a possible win. All wins are checked to make sure the person has not made a mistake before the win is officially confirmed at which time the prize is secured and a new game is begun. In this version of bingo, players compete against one another for the prize or jackpot.
In the US, bingo is primarily staged by churches or charity organizations and the rules are governed by state regulation. Commercial bingo games in the US are primarily offered by Nevada casinos and by Native-American bingo halls, which are often housed in the same location as Native American-run casinos. In Nevada, bingo is offered mainly by casinos that cater to local gamblers, and not the famous tourist resorts. After all, bingo is not a trendy, flashing-light, noisy game, and tourist-y players likely would rather be surrounded by neon lights and an almost carnival-like atmosphere.
Leslie and I have been playing bingo since we were of gambling age in New York. The local temple in the Bronx offered bingo and we were definitely the youngest ones in the room. And there, our bingo love was born.