Bingo revenue declines 70% in New York state since 2009

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Star Gazette – That hopeful moment in a bingo game when you are just one number away from winning is called the waiting. Rosa Pipher, of Endicott, was waiting on G-50.

The number glowed on the video monitor at the Endicott Elks Lodge 1977 weekly Monday night game. She was just three syllables away from calling out bingo and collecting her winnings.

“Bingo!” a woman’s voice calls out behind Pipher, apparently winning on the number before G-50. Pipher is not the only one to groan among the dozens of players, their bingo cards taped together for maximum ink-stamping efficiency.

“Bingo is cruel. It does not have feelings. That’s the way it is,” Pipher, who has been playing bingo regularly for 20 years, said philosophically as she moved on to the next game.

But fewer people in the Southern Tier are joining Pipher at the region’s bingo halls, which have supported charitable organizations from churches, fraternal organizations and veterans groups for decades. Here are the numbers on bingo. They’re not lucky at the moment.

• Broome County reported 48,897 players attended bingo events in 2009, and money raised from bingo events was about $1 million. In 2013, bingo attendance fell 50 percent to 24,556 players, and money raised fell 49 percent to $521,492.

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