If you’re a bingo caller, the real flashpoint and problem area of the job is dealing with missed claims. There are a number of reasons why claims can be missed be it quiet calls or late calls. When it happens it can be a moment of disquiet in the audience and you need to be firm and stand by the decision that you make.
I had one such difficult night when during a link game, a wheelchair bound customer missed out on winning £1,000 as the manager missed her claim. As the caller I was typing the link numbers into the console whilst the duty manager was in charge of stopping the game.
As he’d missed it there was no option but to carry on. There was uproar in the audience at the decision, but he was firm with them. However, as soon as he left the stage I had to deal with what was now an upset audience, and it was a very difficult rest of the session. Ripples of disquiet and angry mutterings carried on as the games continued and I was glad when the session had ended, all I could do was reinforce what the manager had told the audience, the caller’s decision was final.
Well, that it seems is not the case at Gala Bingo. News from Coventry of a disputed missed claim today. Uda Banks lost a claim for a £9,000 game last month. After complaining to management at the Pool Meadow Gala Bingo that the caller had missed her claim, Gala referred the matter to the Gambling Commission and began their own investigation, viewing CCTV footage of the game in question. The result – the club has agreed to pay the pensioner the £9,000 she lost out on.
A spokesman for Gala has said “Every game is taped and audioed and, after looking at it, we realised there was a claim.” I didn’t realise that this was happening now. It’s akin to having a video ref at a sporting match. This means the caller’s decision is no longer final! I could have done with that sort of back-up back when my incident occurred. Still, I’m not sure if all clubs offer such a safety net, and to be honest, it’s no replacement for a nice loud shout!