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Dear Aunt Tillie:

My mother often talked about playing a game similar to bingo at movie theaters during the Great Depression. She couldn’t remember the name of the game but said it wasn’t called bingo even though that’s what the game really was. What can you tell me about this theater bingo?

S.D. Rowe
San Antonio

Dear S.D.
OK, I had to do a little research on this one but during the 1930s Depression there was a bingo variation called “screeno” that was played in movie theaters across the country. One night of the week, movie goers would be issued free bingo cards with their movie tickets and were able to win hundreds of dollars in cash and merchandise during movie breaks. It was a big hit during a time when money and fun were both scarce.

Dear Aunt Tillie:

I love to play Texas Lottery Scratch-Off tickets but I want to improve my odds of winning. How do I know how many winners have already cashed in on a particular game and how much money is left in that particular game?

Whitney Calhoun
Harker Heights

Dear Whitney:
There are two things that might help you in making decisions on which tickets to buy. Most stores have a flier posted that lists how much money is left on popular scratch-off games, especially as the deadline approaches for cashing in winning tickets from that particular game. But the best way is to log on to www.txlottery.org, the official website of the Texas Lottery. On the left hand side are the words Scratch-off. Click there and it will take you to several pages listing each of the games, showing you what those tickets look like and listing what prizes are left in each game. That should give you an idea of what may be out there.

Dear Aunt Tillie:
I really dread going to play bingo because everyone who wins seems to be playing a computer. I don’t like computers, I can’t afford computers at bingo and I want bingo operators to go back to playing just by daubing papers. What can I do to get my Bingo Hall to go back to playing paper bingo instead of selling so many computer games?

Sara Cutright

Dear Sara:

Some bingo halls have gone to games on certain days that are just on paper and not on computer. In fact, at least one bingo hall in Waco doesn’t use computers at all. You have the same chance to win daubing paper as you do at punching computer keys, but it just seems like computer players win more because they are playing more cards. Bingo is fun entertainment but it is also a business and a major fundraising activity for most of the charities that participate. They need to raise as much money as possible and that means selling computer games to want-to-be winners.

Dear Aunt Tillie:
I am a bingo playing Baptist. A friend of mine recently told me that Baylor University gave back a contribution from a Texas bingo hall because it was gambling money. I guess I should applaud the university for standing up for its principles, but I wonder if they also return money from people who own convenience stores and sell beer and cigarettes, which they also oppose, or who are beer distributors

Nathan Dayborn

Dear Nathan:

Are you trying to get me shot! I’m old enough to remember when you would ask for a Baptist tea in Waco so you could get a beer in a brown tea glass with a lemon on top – just in case your preacher came in the restaurant. I don’t doubt Baylor returned the money but I’m not their fundraiser. That’s their decision. You just keep on being a good Baptist and a good bingo player. I don’t think the good Lord cares if you do both. In the meantime, say a little prayer for me – I could use a little help hollering BINGO next Saturday night.

Dear Aunt Tillie:

What is simulcasting? I went to a race track last year here in Texas and everyone was betting on races that were being shown on television. I didn’t want to look stupid so I just watched the races but was afraid to place a bet. Don’t they already know which horse won the race?

Sandra Clooney
San Antonio

Dear Sandra:
First of all, no question is ever a stupid question when it comes to gambling. We all had to begin somewhere and there is no better way to learn than by asking questions of someone who knows what they are doing. Most people are happy to help out the novice gambler. As for your question, simulcasting is a live feed via satellite of other dog and horse races across the country to race tracks in Texas (or elsewhere). The simulcast offers gamblers a chance to wager on other races that they might not otherwise have the ability to see. In most Texas tracks there are several televisions for simulcasting ( I think Manor Downs near Austin has 25 ) that feature the races. Simulcasting has also provided an additional opportunity for some cash-strapped race tracks to bring in additional revenue.

Send letters to Aunt Tillie at info@winbigatbingo.com. Letters may be edited for space and clarity.

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