Bingo nights set to resume at Batesville Lions Club

Published 4:48 pm Monday, May 10, 2021

Bingo is coming back to Batesville under the watchful eyes of the Mississippi Gaming Commission on Thursday, May 20, at the Lions Club building next to Robert H. Dunlap Stadium on Hwy. 51 N.

The local Lions Club has raised thousands of dollars over the years with Thursday night bingo games at their meeting hall located at 524 Tiger Drive. State sanctioned bingo games were last played in Batesville in early March 2020 before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lions Club officials received the go-ahead from the Gaming Commission last week to resume bingo nights with a few adjustments for the safety of players.

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Masks will be required for all bingo participants, but there will be no distancing rules. Before the pandemic, bingo attendance usually ran from 150 to 200 players a night. Members from the Gaming Commission will be on hand to observe the games, and a decision about whether to schedule future bingo nights will depend on the outcome of the May 20 event.

The State of Mississippi allows clubs and organizations to host games of chance under a charitable contributions heading.

In Batesville, the Lions Club’s bingo nights routinely drew more than 100 players from the region with young and old alike enjoying the excitement. The club pays out $4,400 in cash prizes each bingo night, with someone winning a jackpot of $1,199.

The club generally plays 17 games of bingo per event. For the return of bingo on May 20, players can begin buying cards at 6 p.m. The early bird games will be at 7 p.m. and regular games will begin at 8 p.m.

There will be refreshments for sale, but on a limited basis. Some regular concession items, including hamburgers and french fries, will not be available. Only packaged snacks (bags of chips and candy) and contained drinks will be sold.

Also, no outside food or drink will be allowed inside the building. Lions Club officials are taking extra precautions with food service until the first event is held, and they can gauge the safety of expanding concessions.

Lions Club International is multi-faceted and has a host of ongoing humanitarian projects around the globe. Locally, Lions Club members are best known for supporting charitable endeavors, especially in the area of vision with programs that reach children and adults.

The Batesville Lions annually provides vision screening for hundreds of children and can provide families with screening results to take to optometrists.

The Lions also help financially with eyeglasses and other corrective measures for those who need help with the expenses associated with vision health.