What is America's favorite pastime outside of TV? It draws more people than the movies, rock concerts or bowling. It's a subculture obsessed with letters, numbers, and lucky charms. It's a game that has spread throughout the world and even established itself as a popular triumphant exclamation in the English language!
Bingo! will be a ninety minute, color, 16mm documentary tracing the history and evolution, the culture and the players, of the game that the Catholic church brought to the mainstream. America's most favored form of legalized gambling, Bingo!
Bingo! is the first film to examine this billion-dollar industry and the people who have made it part of their life.
For years bingo has been transmuting and adapting to many cultures. It has created social communities on the scale of large religions. Who runs the halls? Who frequents them, and what kind of lifestyles do they perpetuate? Why is it illegal in four states but permitted in 46 others? What should we make of this hardy phenomenon in our society?
These are some of the provocative questions raised by the film-in-the-works, Bingo!.
Bingo! follows the lives of several individuals, some who consider themselves "professionals" and make their living playing Bingo, couples who found love at Bingo, others who find it to be the perfect social setting. We take a trip through the Caribbean on "The 9th Annual World Championship Bingo Tournament and Gaming Cruise" where Bingo fanatics will compete for a $100,000 in cash prizes and have a chance to be crowned the Bingo World Champion.
In Europe Bingo thrives with social clubs that hold between 1,500 and 3,000 spread throughout England, Ireland, and Scotland. Old cinemas are converted to bingo halls since the 60's as the large cinema palaces have trouble attracting customers and the multiplexes find their way into the towns.
Interspersed with interviews of players who frequent the games as well as those who run the halls, and the self proclaimed addicts and the psychologists who try and help them, we cover the people who rely on their welfare checks to support their bingo habits and consider the social implications of all this.
From churches to casinos and Indian reservations, from boys and girls clubs to singles clubs and even on the Internet, from America to Europe-everyone seems to be playing.
Bingo! is a humorous, insightful, and sometimes somber look at a classic game that has become a way of life to many people.