The state of bingo in Texas
Although poker comes to mind when thinking about games of chance in Texas (after all, one of the most popular variants of the pastime is named after the state), there is one other game that arguably receives just as much recognition: bingo. The Lone Star State is home to its fair share of bingo halls. At last count, there are currently over 175 venues accommodating players of all ages.
That’s the other thing contributing to its popularity: the age variance of participants. Although bingo was once thought of as a game solely enjoyed by old folks, recent years have seen more of the younger crowd holding a bingo card or two, spurred on by a resurgence of old-timey things becoming cool again.
The Third Factor
What many consider to be the main driving force behind bingo’s reputation in Texas, though, is the game being synonymous with charitable causes in the state.
Bingo slowly came into prominence in Texas beginning in 1982, when the state decreed that public games should only be played for charity. Needless to say, Texans were more than happy to agree to this ruling. Hollywood star-sponsored movements and international Betfair charity drives indicate that humanitarian causes by way of entertainment are set on a worldwide stage nowadays. However, rewinding the clock a few decades back will show that this wasn’t always the case. It is this fact which made the state’s mandate have a bigger impact, both in acceptance and in effect.
According to a recent report by the Charitable Bingo Operations Division of the Texas Lottery Commission, annual charity-bound grosses in the last few years have always fallen into the $30 million range; often in excess. 2009 was a particularly watershed year, with charitable distributions reaching $35,834,421; the highest gross yet.
Playing with Heart
Proceeds of every game go to places like churches, schools, hospitals, halfway houses, women’s shelters, and the like. Knowing that the funds of every game go to worthwhile ends, it isn’t hard to see why bingo is such a hit in Texas. After all, how could anyone disagree to having fun in the name of contributing to the well being of one’s fellow citizens?