For the last thirty-eight years or so a group of pensioners who live in a sheltered housing complex in Redditch have run bingo games in order to meet, have some fun, and also to raise money for various outings and the annual Christmas party.
All sounds pretty innocent doesn’t it? Bingo is such a social game which brings people of all ages together. For the older player bingo also has a great many health benefits like improving eye-hand coordination, and helping with short-term memory loss, but what is probably the most important plus point of playing bingo is that it is such a social game, and being social, chatting and laughing with friends has a great many health benefits in itself.
Unfortunately, for the residents living at the Harry Taylor House Complex in Redditch (Birmingham) this social gathering has been cut short as they have been told that their games are breaking the Private Gaming Law by gambling for cash. Many of them are now enjoying their beloved game through the internet using sites like bingosites.uk which lists hundreds of sites that are available on smartphones and iPads.
The bingo group has been told that they are fine to carry on playing but they must not put in any money which is disappointing for the residents.
One lady resident, Hazel Cooke who is 77, said “there is a real social aspect to the bingo nights which is nice to have, I just hope the even hasn’t been tainted by the council’s decision.”
Redditch Council issued a statement which said. “We can confirm that we have not cancelled any social gathering at Harry Taylor House.”
The statement went on to say. “We appreciate that this is a longstanding tradition for many of the people that live at Harry Taylor House, we do not wish to stop the games but what we have asked is that residents do not play the game of bingo for cash prizes as the y may not be conforming to the law.”
The sad fact is this though Redditch Council unfortunately some of the groups have decided not to continue as a result of your ‘more than your jobsworth’ approach.
Dame Esther Rantzen who is the founder of the Silver Line charity which was set up to combat loneliness and exclusion of the elderly. Dame Esther also presented the highly popular programme ‘That’s Life which would feature each week a jobsworth and highlight the red-tap bureaucrats has sympathy with the residents, and she offered a possible solution.
Dame Esther said that her first choice was to create a charity where she would volunteer as a trustee, and that the one pounds paid are donations to the charity
*The Gambling act of 2005 stipulates that you cannot charge for participation in the game and that any prizes that are won cannot be made up out of moneys paid to take part in the game.