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AOL Angers Many By Closing Its Bingo Casino Site

23 October 2000

NASHUA, New Hampshire – Oct. 23, 2000 – As reported by The Associated Press: "For years, Sandi Simoneau of Nashua and her friend Patti-Ann Denapoli of Derry have been volunteer hosts in a family-oriented bingo chat room on America Online called RobbitJack Casino.

"…Although the games were the focus of the casino -- no money changed hands, only tokens "good for bragging rights" -- the real draw was the camaraderie members had developed in this classic "cyber-community."

"…But earlier this month they were stunned to find the casino had been closed as part of reorganization under a new company that runs AOL's gaming areas.

"…They aren't alone. They point to 745 messages from other hosts and devoted bingo players in a discussion area called Farewell to RabbitJack. Many say the writers will abandon AOL unless their favorite place for games -- and for joking around with pals -- is resurrected.

"Until it disappeared from AOL on Oct. 2, RabbitJack Casino used a proprietary software to allow up to 24 people at a time to play bingo with online cards, sending quips and comments visible to all players. Volunteer hosts ran the games, answered questions, kept track of who was winning and interjected personality as they kept things on an even keel.

"…In messages responding to members' concerns, America Online says RabbitJack was dropped as part of changes made in the service's gaming channel by California-based Entertainment Arts, which has taken over operation of AOL's games as part of a multi-million-dollar `strategic alliance.'…"

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