When you go to a casino, your main goal is to have fun. Casinos have a reputation for being loud, flashy, and exciting.
You can gamble online, but it’s not the same as the experience and the atmosphere of going to a brick-and-mortar casino. If you are accustomed to that kind of environment, you might be surprised to learn that it’s not the same in other gambling venues.
Bingo halls, in particular, offer a completely different experience. They are calm, quiet places where you can still have fun without the obnoxious flashiness of a casino. However, a different level of etiquette is expected.
Some of the things that are commonplace in casinos are looked down upon, or downright forbidden, in bingo halls.
I think everyone should be open to visiting a bingo hall at least once in their life. Despite the fact that bingo halls have a reputation for attracting older women, the games are fun and a lot more intense than you might imagine. But you cannot go to a bingo hall and behave the same way that you would at a casino.
Here are five behaviors that will get you kicked out of the bingo hall before you even know what’s coming.
1 – Drinking During the Game
Those of you who gamble in Las Vegas and Atlantic City are accustomed to drinking alcoholic beverages while you play. Casinos give out free drinks because they want to encourage you to lower your inhibitions so that they can make more profit in the end. But drinking during the game is not acceptable when you play bingo.
The laws that govern gambling vary from state to state, including the minimum age for gambling. Some states require that casinos only allow customers that are twenty-one years or older. But in many cases, bingo halls are authorized to accept customers as long as they are over eighteen. They cannot legally serve alcohol if some of their clients are under the legal drinking age.
So, don’t be surprised if you can’t drink during bingo. I promise that the owners of the bingo hall are not holding out on you. They are merely complying with the state laws that govern their business. Some states do allow bingo halls to serve alcohol for purchase, but most do not.
There is a possibility that the bingo hall can be held liable if you drink on their premises, even if they do not supply the alcohol. It’s not fair to let them face penalties because you want to drink.
Do not bring alcoholic beverages to the bingo hall, especially if it allows customers under the legal drinking age to play.
2 – Bringing Outside Food or Drinks With You
Bingo halls don’t make as much in profits as land-based casinos do. A majority of the money that you pay to play goes toward the prizes for each game. In some states, the laws dictate what percentage of the handle has to get used as prizes.
As a result, bingo halls often sell food and drinks in an attempt to make a little bit more money.
It’s impolite to bring your own food and drinks into a bingo hall because it takes away their opportunity to make a little bit of extra money. Tribal groups and small businesses are the two main groups of people who operate bingo halls. They are not massive corporations who will nickel-and-dime you to make as much extra money as possible.
Food sales are one of the only ways that small bingo halls can earn a little bit of profit.
You are never obligated to buy food from the bingo hall. If you have dietary restrictions, you should eat before you arrive. It’s better to buy nothing at all than to bring your own food.
Most bingo halls will not kick you out if you decide to bring your own refreshments, but they will definitely look down on it. If you make it a habit, they will most likely refuse you service in the future, especially if you are obnoxious about it.
3 – Talking During the Game
Casinos are social environments where you can talk to your friends, laugh, and interact with everyone around you.
When you play blackjack or craps, you can get away with chatting in between the rounds because you don’t need to pay much attention while other players place their bets. But bingo requires that the players focus until someone wins, especially when they are playing several bingo cards at once.
Social interactions should be kept to a minimum while you play bingo. The reason that it is impolite to talk during a bingo game is that everyone who is playing needs to be able to hear what is going on.
You have to listen to the caller reading the numbers when playing bingo, and you also have to hear when other players yell “bingo.”
Most likely, you will not talk a lot during the rounds of bingo while you are still playing. You will be so busy checking your cards to see if you have the numbers that you will not have time to chat with the people around you. But there are a couple of situations where it is important to be especially mindful of your conversations.
First of all, there might be times where you are not playing, but other people around you are. When I went to the local bingo hall, they had two packages of tickets that you could buy. The more expensive package came with several mini-games or extra rounds of bingo that were not included in the cheaper one.
My friends and I had purchased the cheaper package, so we had several breaks in between games where we had nothing to do other than talk to each other.
We didn’t mean to disrupt the other players’ games, and we were not particularly loud. But one of the women who sat across from us made it pretty evident that we were distracting her from the game she was trying to play.
Just because you are not playing doesn’t mean that the other players aren’t. When you go to a bingo hall, there will be dozens of different variations of bingo, all wrapped into one evening of fun. One of those games is called super speedy bingo.
During the super speedy rounds, the bingo caller repeats all of the numbers one right after the other, with no break in between. Because they are calling the numbers so quickly, they don’t have time to show them on the screen like they would during a regular bingo game.
Super speedy games are another example of a time when it is especially important to be quiet. Since the numbers don’t get displayed on the screen, all of the players have to rely on their hearing to play the game. Don’t distract the people around you when the game gets called quickly and the numbers are not displayed on the screen.
Most of us would consider it common courtesy to be mindful of your talking while other people are involved in a different activity. But it is even more critical when they are playing bingo.
Imagine how you would feel if you realized that you could have won the game, but you missed a number because the person next to you was talking loudly. You wouldn’t want that to happen to you, so make sure that you don’t do it to other people. Similarly, do not use foul language, complain often, or whine when you lose.
If you do choose to talk during the game, the other players will be quick to remind you to be quiet. They will not hesitate to complain to the management if the problem persists after they have asked you to stop. Once management gets involved, you are likely to get thrown out of the game pretty quickly.
There will be an intermission and some breaks in between games. Those are the times when it’s okay to chat and interact with each other.
If there is a reason that you absolutely must talk during the middle of a game, do so quietly. The same goes for phone calls. When your cell phone rings during the game, it disrupts everyone, so you should either ignore the call or excuse yourself to take it outside.
4 – Disrespecting Other People’s Stuff
Do you remember back in elementary school when it was time for lunch? Everyone would go to the tables and leave a water bottle or their binder or some personal object to save their seats while they went to pick up their lunch.
It was a fail-proof system of personal possessions as a symbol to the rest of the school. No one ever moved each other’s things or argued with the person who had saved their seat. Or at least that’s how I remember it happening most of the time.
Well, local bingo halls are the new lunchrooms. It’s surprising at first, but players who attend bingo regularly have taken up the habit of leaving their personal belongings behind as a way of saving their spot, as long as the management allows it. They leave home-made seat cushions and hand-sewn bags full of bingo daubers.
When I went to the bingo hall for the first time, I didn’t understand how things worked. My friends and I sat down, and one friend started handing out bingo daubers to the rest of us. I thought that she had taken them from the bag on the table, but she had actually brought them herself.
In my mind, the bingo hall should provide everything you need to play bingo, so I thought that the bingo hall was the one who had left all of these bags all over the tables.
My friend explained to me that the bingo hall has daubers that you can purchase, but the ones on the table belonged to other players who had left them there. Thank goodness she explained it to me before I made a fool of myself by digging through someone else’s stuff!
People who play bingo regularly have a variety of supplies that they bring with them to make it easier for themselves. They have their own systems that might include different colors of daubers for different games, tape to make sure that their cards don’t move around the table, and highlighters to mark the cards.
None of those supplies are particularly valuable, but the regulars want to make it easier for themselves by making sure they have all of the supplies that they need when they arrive.
No one is going to leave valuable possessions behind at a public place, but the regulars do trust that there is an honor code. If it’s not your stuff, don’t touch it. Honor the fact that someone has left their stuff behind as a signal to find a different seat.
They might not kick you out right away, but if management finds out that you dug through another person’s belongings, they will most likely ask you not to return.
5 – Cheating
This one should go without saying, but if you get caught cheating, you will be asked to leave the bingo hall. In many cases, you might actually face criminal charges as well.
The people who own and operate bingo halls take their game seriously, so if you get caught cheating, they will make an example out of you, even if it requires getting lawyers involved. They are well within their rights to do so.
Surprisingly, bingo is one form of gambling that is particularly difficult to cheat. There are only three ways that you can cheat if you play in a land-based bingo hall, and none of them are easy. You can convince the caller to cheat by choosing the numbers that you need, create your own counterfeit bingo cards, or swap cards with an elderly player who might not notice what you have done.
Bingo halls have seen it all, so they have policies in place that make even these forms of cheating virtually impossible. At my local bingo hall, the caller has to show the ball on camera before he calls it, so you cannot convince a caller to choose numbers for you.
They also use coded bingo cards, so the only way to tell if you won is if your card matches the winning cards for that game. Your counterfeit card would not have the code to match, so you would automatically get caught in the act of cheating when you yelled “bingo.”
It’s simply not worth cheating because you will most likely get caught, and you will most likely face criminal charges.
If you get caught counting cards in a casino, they will most likely remove you from their premises and prohibit you from returning, but they will not press charges against you. You should not cheat at all, but you really should not cheat at a bingo hall.
Bingo is a popular form of gambling because it is fun and exciting, but it’s a different kind of exciting than a casino. As a result, these are a few examples of behaviors that are acceptable in the casino, but they are impolite and disrespectful in a bingo hall. Fortunately, they are also pretty easy to avoid.
Make sure that you don’t drink alcoholic beverages that are not provided by the owner, and refrain from bringing your own snacks with you. Do not talk while other people are playing bingo or distract others from hearing the caller. Never cheat, and do not touch stuff that isn’t yours.
As long as you follow these simple rules, you can have a fun time at the bingo hall without running into problems or making enemies of the other players. Be courteous and kind so that everyone can have an enjoyable experience.