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Aug 6, 2002 7:57 AM

Great news! Not only is bingo fun to play but according to an article published by the Associated Press, playing the game helps keep the mind sharp and slows the brain’s ageing process! According to a study by British researchers, people who played bingo were found to be faster and more accurate in a series of tests that measured mental speed and memory than the non-bingo playing participants in the tests. (Hey, we all knew that!)

In Las Vegas bingo news, mark your calendars for some very special play dates at the Castaways. On Saturday night, August 24, at the 7 p.m. session there will be a special $15 buy-in promotion. All games will pay $500 with a $2,000 coverall game and $1,000 on second, third, fourth and fifth chance coveralls! Big games with big buck jackpots! Extra buy-in packs will be $10 each. During August, Castaways will continue accepting all competitors bingo coupons, a successful promotion that began last month. Looking ahead to Labor Day, on Sunday, September 1st, all bingo players at the Castaways will be receiving a 35 mm camera with a minimum buy-in at all sessions, while supplies last!

In the past we’ve mentioned several places where you can play bingo for free, like at the Westward Ho and Ellis Island. Downtown at Jackie Gaughan’s Gold Spike, you can play daily "Free Cash Bingo." From 6:30-9:30 a.m. all players in the casino can play free regular bingo games from anywhere in the casino. Get a free card to participate. A new game begins every half hour and winners are paid $25. There is even a chance to win a progressive coverall jackpot of up to $1,500. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, additional games are played between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. For more information, call the Gold Spike at 702-384-8444.

The Opera House in North Las Vegas also has casino-wide bingo sessions. Players who hit a four-of-a-kind on video poker machines can then receive a free bingo card. Play at 7:15 p.m. or 9:15 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, or at noon on Saturdays. Five games are played at each session with a $10 prize on regular games and $100 on the coverall. There is also a progressive money ball jackpot for a $1 validation fee. For more information, give them a call at 702-649-8801.

On the other hand, Railroad Pass has discontinued their free casino-wide daily free bingo sessions.

Finally, if you’ve never visited Bingo Novelty World, it’s someplace all bingo lovers should check out! Located at 3127 Industrial Road, this place has everything for the Bingo enthusiast from the essentials like daubers, seat cushions, fans and tote bags, to novelty lucky charms, and bingo apparel. They even have bingo watches, jewelry and rings. For information call 1-800-732-4646. They can also send you a catalog or visit the website at: www.bingonoveltyworld.com