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‘While You Were Sleeping’: Late night bingo returns with new rules

Masks, hand sanitizer now part of the game

Katrina Webber, Crime Fighters Reporter

SAN ANTONIO – The numbers on the lucky balls at Ingram Late Night Bingo now share the spotlight with the numbers on the thermometer.

A security guard pays especially close attention to those, checking all players as they enter the hall.

“Temperature checks. We have to do temperature checks all the time,” said Michael Garcia who has been managing the bingo hall on the overnight shift for quite some time.

KSAT 12 News featured Garcia and the establishment last year, prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

At that time, the crew at the bingo hall near Loop 410 and Ingram Road was focused on making sure everyone had a good time and stayed awake through the games, which can run until 2 or 3 a.m. some nights.

With the business’ recent reopening after the quarantine, no one is gambling with safety.

The game rules now include using hand sanitizer and practicing social distancing.

Masks also are a must for almost everyone inside the hall.

“The (number) caller’s away from everyone. They’re not gonna be close so it just makes sense that they take off the mask so they say the numbers like that,” Garcia said.

Even at the overnight games, Garcia said, most of the customers seem to be taking the new rules in stride.

Bertina Woody said she was practicing her own form of social distancing even before the outbreak. She always chooses the table at the very back of the room.

“Usually, I have two tables,” she said. “But with COVID, everything is downsized.”

Woody said the late night bingo games are her temporary escape from everyday life.

As a single mom, she has few opportunities for entertainment.

“Usually it’s work and taking care of the kids,” Woody said. “Then I can get them situated and I can come to bingo and relax and have a good time.”

With the coronavirus remaining a threat, the staff is focused on offering a good and safe time to their customers.

That way, even if they don’t hit the jackpot, everyone can go home a winner.

Copyright 2020 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

About the Authors:
Katrina Webber

Katrina Webber was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas.

Tim Stewart

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor’s degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master’s in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.

Late night bingo has reopened but players have to keep some new coronavirus-related rules in mind.

‘While You Were Sleeping’: Late night bingo parlor keeps Lady Luck working overtime

Ingram Night Bingo regularly sees packed house for its overnight games

Katrina Webber, Crime Fighters Reporter

SAN ANTONIO – It may be one of the last things you’d think of anyone doing in the middle of the night, sitting around and playing what, technically, is a board game.

However, that’s exactly what Diana Holguin and two of her sisters do several nights per week.

They attend late night bingo sessions at Ingram Bingo, located along Loop 410 near Ingram Road.

In the games they play, the stakes are especially high. Up for grabs each night are multiple jackpots worth up to $750 a piece.

“If you win you win. If you’re lucky, you’re lucky,” said Holguin. “You can’t be a sore loser playing bingo. It’s just fun, you know, and we enjoy it.”

While Holguin takes the games all in stride, her sister, Sylvia, is much more serious about winning.

She brings several “lucky” trinkets, including a troll doll, with her most nights in the hope of increasing her odds of taking home a jackpot.

The competition, though, is fierce, especially on weekends when the bingo parlor boasts a packed house.

Still, on one recent weeknight, there were at least 100 people in attendance.

“We’ve got anywhere from five-year-olds all the way up to 50-, 60-year olds. All different ages,” said Michael Garcia, one of the managers at Ingram Bingo.

Garcia, who has been working at the bingo parlor for the past six years, said he has gotten to know a lot of the regular customers personally.

Angela Torres, meanwhile, is just getting to know her job as a manager and numbers caller.

She said she stumbled upon the career by accident but with prodding from a relative

“My grandma is a bingo freak,” she said. “So my grandma is the one who started it, saying, ‘You need to go apply at bingo. You need to go apply.’”

Thanks to that advice from her grandmother, Torres soon will be celebrating four years with the company.

This is not your grandmother’s bingo, though.

The games at this location last until at least 2 or 3 a.m. each day.

An electronic ball selector also has replaced the old hand-cranked ones, and players now have the option of using computers instead of paper game boards.

There is, however, one thing that never changes there.

Even in the wee hours of the night, sleeping is not allowed.

“It doesn’t happen often. You’ll probably get, like, once a week where we’ll have to tell someone to wake up,” said Garcia. ”You have to yell, ‘Bingo!’ Yeah, that’s a thing. We can’t yell bingo for you.”

For more information on the schedule for Ingram Bingo’s late night games, click here.

Copyright 2019 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

It may be one of the last things you’d think of anyone doing in the middle of the night, sitting around and playing what, technically, is a board game. ]]>