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Bingo Games are 'Like Family' for Seniors

11 February 2001

COACHELLA VALLEY, California – Feb. 11, 2001 – As reported by the Desert Sun: "Voices echo throughout the cavernous hall in the Tri-Palm Estates clubhouse as people filter in and fill up the long rows of tables. Some folks cart oxygen tanks or lean on canes for support but no matter -- it would take an act of God to keep them away from bingo night.

"….But it's more than cash or love of the game that draws seniors into one of the many bingo games throughout the Coachella Valley. While some go in for the glitz and glamour of casinos where the payoffs are bigger, there is an undeniable sense of camaraderie in the local chambers, community centers and clubhouses where bingo is played between neighbors and friends.

"…[77-year-old Sky Valley resident Emma] Purvis has played bingo for 30-years. She's a regular at the Tri- Palm games and the Thursday night games at the Sky Valley Chamber and Community Center where bingo fanatics play fast and furiously while munching on hot dogs, potato chips, and cookies.

"Expert caller Ed Wasserman's foray into the world of bingo happened by chance, but it didn't take him long to get hooked.

"It was more than 10 years ago when Wasserman, the former president of the Thousand Palms Chamber of Commerce, was looking for a way to raise money for building repairs. He decided to run a bingo game and has been doing it ever since.

"…Eighty-seven-year-old Edythe Sharp is a familiar face in the crowd. The Rancho Mirage resident has played bingo for more years than she can remember and, like clockwork, has turned out for the Tuesday night games for the past 10 years.

"…Although the cash pots are bigger at the casinos, Sharp says they don't hold a candle to the more intimate venues where the crowds are smaller…"

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