NYC Bingo Halls Attracting Younger Players

In the UK land based bingo has experienced a renaissance of sorts and younger players are flocking to bingo halls and are also playing at internet bingo sites. In fact online bingo has been partially responsible for bingo’s increased popularity among the young in the UK. In the US bingo is catching on big time especially in uptown New York City. Many players are unemployed and are trying to win some extra cash.  The jackpots are not small and average between $1,000 and $3,000. Payouts are frequent and bingo halls are cashing in on players desperate to win some extra cash. Some actually rely on their bingo winnings to pay bills. Harlem resident Sharon Brown, 44, has played bingo for about ten years stated “I pay my bills with bingo.”

Since Brown was laid off from her former job as an administrative assistant two years ago plays cash bingo three or four times a week and rents a $25 dollar computerized bingo board hoping to win a large jackpot. In June Brown won a $2,000 dollar jackpot and used the money to pay part of her rent and her gas bill. Brown told interviewers “The payout is good. Bingo is gambling. It’s fun, but it’s a bad habit.” Brown says she is aware that playing bingo is not the best way to solve her financial problems.

While older bingo players still fill church halls the new bingo halls such as West Side Hall and the Washington Heights Arcade are attracting a younger group of bingo players. The bingo halls are licensed and incorporated by the state of New York and are open from noon until all the games are finished. West Side hall owner Belle Fisch stated “In the last few years we’ve seen people a little younger mixing in and becoming regular players. It’s a therapy for some. For others, it’s an economic thing.”Fisch said the Saturday night games at the hall attract several young couples. Fisch said “It’s a cheap, fun date. If someone wants to try their luck and play a game, it’s a lot less expensive than a casino.”

One bingo hall has a rather unusual location. The Washington Heights Arcade is located underground in the 181st Street IRT subway station. Bingo Player Margaret Porfidio stated “Down here it’s a whole other world most people don’t know of. It’s mostly senior citizens but, at the end of the month, the age drops off. Maybe the Social Security Check runs out. “ New York bingo halls are filled with young sometimes unemployed players trying to make some quick extra cash and bingo halls are raking in the money.

Despite the gambling law there are millions of Americans who play internet bingo regularly. The jackpots can be much larger than those offered at land based bingo games and all that is needed is a computer or mobile device with an internet connection.