Live bingo ending at CEC

Published 10:20 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
Daubers will be a thing of the past later this month at the Creek Entertainment Center.
According to Creek Entertainment site manager Daniel McGhee, beginning April 21 the Poarch Band of Creek Indian-operated gaming facility will hold its last game of traditional paper bingo in its 530-seat Bingo Hall.
"Over the years, our traditional paper bingo operations have become less profitable for the tribe," McGhee said. "This floor space is being redesigned to accommodate additional dining and improve the customer's overall experience."
Traditional paper bingo has been played on Friday through Monday nights for several years. Officials said the closure would make room for additional amenities the tribe has in the works.
According to McGhee, while growth and expansion is exciting, some Creek Entertainment Center customers and employees feel understandably nostalgic about the changes.
"I'm sad to see it go, I'm going to miss it," bingo manager Pat Johnson said. "Over the years, I've made friends with a lot of our regular bingo customers and they have become like family to me."
Atmore resident Betty Lee has frequented the Bingo Hall on a regular basis for nearly 20 years. She recently quit going, but believes other players will miss it.
"I've been going ever since it's been open," Lee said. "I enjoy going out there and meeting friends."
According to a release issued by PCI, Creek Entertainment is the birthplace of high-stakes bingo in Alabama. The Bingo Hall opened on April 13, 1985 and customers have played traditional bingo at the facility for more than 22 years.
PCI Gaming general manager Kitty Stuart emphasized that no jobs would be lost as a result of the Bingo Hall's closure.
"We are experiencing a great deal of growth at Creek Entertainment, so all our bingo employees will fortunately be given an opportunity to accept other positions at our facility," she said. "We will still offer more than 1,000 electronic bingo machines."
According to McGhee, the last night of traditional paper bingo in the Bingo Hall will be held April 21. The ticketed event will have limited seating. Tickets will be on sale at the Bingo Hall from April 7-9. Customers playing bingo can only purchase tickets during bingo sessions.
"Since seating is limited, we want to give our long-time, regular bingo players the first opportunity to participate in this final session," McGhee said.
The doors will open at noon on April 21, with warm-ups beginning at 2 p.m. and regular games starting at 4 p.m. McGhee said long-time bingo player may recognize some former bingo callers who have been invited to return for the final night.

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