Bingo With My Biddies

The summer before my junior year of college, my family went on a cruise to the Virgin Islands. Each day on the boat, while the other passengers my age were flirting by the pool or trying to sneak into the casino, I was playing Bingo with the senior crowd.

You see, Bingo is a sport I’ve always enjoyed. It’s competitive, it requires skill and it’s not for the faint of heart—all things that I love.

If you don’t believe me, make a pit stop at your local church hall on a Thursday afternoon. There, you’ll see a bunch of 80-year-old women each playing 10 Bingo cards at one time, arthritis be damned. For the true sportsmen out there—myself included—it’s a stunning sight to behold.

Such is the love of the game that I brought with me to the daily Bingo sessions on that Carnival cruise ship. And when I nabbed my first win on the third day and collected $100 in cash from the Carnival Activities Director, I laughed at the poor fools exchanging numbers by the saltwater pool. This, my friends, was real fun.

Fortunately, others share my passion.

On the first of the month, every resident at The Haven at Western Center, a Fort Worth, Texas, community managed by Flournoy Properties, picks up a Bingo card from the clubhouse with that month’s date stamped on the back. The community then posts a Bingo number on its resident portal website and Facebook page every day until the first resident gets Bingo.

Once the Bingo numbers and the date stamp on the back of the card are confirmed, the resident wins a gift card to a retailer of their choice and their picture is posted on the community website.

The next month, new cards are handed out and the game begins again.

Property Manager Milisa Crouch says the Bingo game—which she started doing nearly two years ago—takes very little effort and is a great incentive for residents to consistently visit the community’s website and Facebook page.

“The Bingo games are awesome,” says resident Kale Kirkland, who won a Walmart gift card. “Now I make sure I look at the community website regularly for other things such as when the monthly Happy Hour events are scheduled.”

Crouch orders Bingo playing cards and a deck of Bingo number cards from www.nationalbingoonline.com. She says 9,000 Bingo cards, two decks of number cards, 24 dot markers (and a bag of 300 poker chips that are used at other game nights) costs $104—and will last more than a year.

“It’s a great investment, a ton of fun and it increases traffic to our website,” Crouch says. “It keeps residents connected and involved on a daily basis and is a small and easy way to keep the lines of communication open.”

I may very well retire there.

For information on The Haven’s Bingo program, check out Marketing Insider in the December issue of units, which mailed Dec. 8.