GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Gulf Coast is known for casino gaming, a billion dollar a year industry that employs thousands of people. But another game of chance has never lost its appeal: Bingo!
That simple shout of "bingo" is what every player lives for. That and a nice crisp $20 dollar bill that goes along with it. The numbers are called out, and the cards are marked. All the profits from the games at American Legion Post 1992 in Gautier go for one thing, according to post commander Bill Whatley.
"Any family from any veteran, or a veteran that comes to the American Legion that needs our help, we're obligated to help those veterans. And a lot of this goes into our civic work and scholarship programs," Whatley explained.
Tim Honeycutt calls the games and has a theory about why they are so popular.
"I guess just the thrill of winning something and the idea that it might be you, the next number might be you. People seem to really enjoy and get excited about it," Honeycutt said.
Noreen Bryant played bingo in her native country of Ireland, now she plays here for a special reason.
"My husband was a Korean Marine veteran and I like to come and support the veterans," Bryant said. "We always have good fun here and the people are extremely nice."
While some of the players who play bingo have just discovered the fun of the game, there are others who have been at it for a very long time. One of them is Jo Tisbury.
"I've played bingo all my life," Tisbury said. "I started when I was a kid playing with my mother at a veteran's organization and I just love it."
"Everybody likes to talk and have a good time and it's for a good cause. Most of it goes for donations for charities and that's a good cause," Kevin Walker said.
Officials at the American Legion say they raise about $25,000 a year through Bingo games, all of which goes to charity. The actual games are regulated and licensed by the state gaming commission. Only non-profit organizations can offer Bingo.