Bingo players came all the way from Ohio to Windsor for a good time and some cold hard cash.
More than 600 people packed into Tecumseh’s Classic Bingo III for a share of $100,000 in prizes Wednesday night.
Players had to qualify for the World Series of Bingo by winning a round at one of four bingo halls owned and operated by the Community Gaming and Entertainment Group across Windsor-Essex.
Qualifying rounds ran from August through last Sunday night and cost only a dollar. Winners during those four months earned a ticket to the big dance.
"Everything was free to all who qualified," said CGEG Director of Operations Marty Carroll, who pointed out the need to regulate cards. "We didn’t give extra cards to even the playing field. Some people can only play four cards, others can play a lot more at the same time. It made things fair and more fun for everybody,"
Winning your ticket wasn’t the only way to make it in to festivities. Seats were in high demand according to CGEG President and CEO Tony Rosa.
"People were selling or offering to buy tickets with the a pledge to share 10 per cent of their winnings on Kijijii and eBay," he said. "But it’s all about having a good time. We started collecting for Sparky’s Toy Drive and area food banks this year as well."
Wanda Lawson only walked away with a $25-gift-certificate early on in the evening but is "really lucky", according to her daughter Candace Holman.
"She’s always calling bingo, everybody who works here knows her," Holman said.
The Windsorites are avid players and have been attending the event for years. Lawson, who will turn 90 years old soon, has been playing bingo for more than 40 years and won’t be stopping any time soon.
""What else am I going to do at my age? I’ll use my money to play bingo," she said. "This is excitement for me. I like the people, the caller’s antics, and the food."
Whether the pair walked home with the big prize remains to be seen as five lucky winners wound up walking away with a piece of the $25,000 jackpot, which ran late into Wednesday evening.