Issue 122
January 13-19, 2003
Volume 3
page 2

Bingo Still Big in Vegas Casinos

/Las Vegas Mercury/– LAS VEGAS - Inside the bingo room of Texas Station, it's as still as an oil painting, and as quiet as the inside of a church during a silent invocation. The only sound is the steady, calm voice of a woman, whose image is on a monitor, methodically calling out number after number.

Finally, a player shouts "Bingo!" and the other players slump a bit, put down their daubers and wait for confirmation and the start of another game. This scene is repeated every odd hour all afternoon and throughout the evening, mostly at locals casinos throughout Southern Nevada.

"It's very popular, both in Southern Nevada and throughout the world," says Don Carrier, publisher of the Bingo Bugle, a trade publication with a circulation of 115,000 in Nevada and California. "Bingo has a bigger attendance than organized baseball. It's huge, and the players are serious."

Bingo executives understand this, and they go to great lengths to lure these players. They run games that make little or no money. Their ulterior motive: to drive casino traffic.

So familiar are the players to staff workers, referred to in trade parlance as "bingo agents," that when a player doesn't show up for a few days, it's not unusual for an agent to call the player at home just to make sure everything is okay.

Bingo also has its distinct culture. The players commonly use terminology completely unfamiliar to the world outside the bingo parlor. So are the novelties, which include bingo cups, bingo key chains and even tidy bingo bags. Among the most interesting bingo novelties are designer daubers, molded in a variety of forms, such as cute, smiling bulldogs or buff male cartoon characters wearing only briefs--nicknamed "Jock Boys" or "Romeos."

Most bingo players are older women. But even this aspect of the game--a game first played in 16th century Italy and popularized in America in 1929 by New York toy salesman Edwin Lowe--is changing. Among the changes that are bringing in younger players is the introduction in recent years of electronic daubers that keep track of called numbers and alert the player to bingo's and to possible bingo's that could be one number away. But the biggest recent bingo innovation is
bigger jackpots.

America West, JetBlue Airlines Adding Service - LAS VEGAS - America West Airlines will add seven round-trip flights to and from Las Vegas in March, including new service to Eugene, OR. The Tempe, Ariz.-based airline also will reinstate seasonal service to Mexico City and add two daily flights to San Francisco and single daily round trips to and from Denver, Phoenix, San Diego and San Jose, CA.

The new Eugene flights will use twin-engine 50-passenger Canadair Regional Jets, operated by America West partner Mesa Airlines as America West Express. America West, the second-largest commercial carrier at McCarran International Airport, will have 81 daily flights to and from Las Vegas, just under half the number offered by No. 1 Southwest Airlines.

Meanwhile, New York-based JetBlue Airways has firmed the start-up dates for its third and daily fourth round trips between Las Vegas and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. JetBlue, which has two New York flights a day, will add a third Jan. 16 and a fourth on Feb. 20. The airline also has three flights a day to Long Beach, CA.

Maryland Tracks Want More Slots - ANNAPOLIS, MD – The horse racing industry wants to put more slot machines at each of Maryland's major tracks than can be found at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, according to a copy of a proposal obtained by the Washington Post.

The industry is asking Republican Gov.-elect Robert Ehrlich to divide at least 18,000 slot machines among five racetracks -- a number that surpasses plans floated by the incoming governor. Ehrlich has said he supports about 10,000 slots at four tracks. Ehrlich called the proposal unacceptable, primarily because it calls for legalizing slots at Ocean Downs Racetrack near Ocean City.

According to its proposal, the industry would be willing to pay the state $300 million in licensing fees. The owners of the state's three major tracks -- Laurel Park, Pimlico in Baltimore and Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill -- agreed to pay licensing fees of $75 million each. In return, they would gain the right to place 4,500 slot machines at each location. By comparison, the MGM Grand casino in Las Vegas has about 3,500 slot machines.

“William Rickman Jr., the owner of Ocean Downs and holder of a track under construction in Cumberland, agreed to pay $37.5 million in licensing fees for each of his venues. He would be permitted to have 2,250 slots at each site, according to the proposal.

Drew Carey &
The Improv All Stars

Drew Carey & The Improv All Stars will appear at the Hollywood Theatre at MGM Grand Hotel Casino
January 23-26, 2003.

All star performers include Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Kathy Kinney, Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood, Chip Epsen, Jeff Davis, Julie Larson and Sean Masterson. Music will be provided by Laura Hall and Linda Taylor.


Show time:
9 p.m. Thurs. & Sun.
8 & 10:30 p.m. Fri. & Sat.

Reservations Recommended

For more information please call: (800) 646-7787
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