From the Archives: Bingo! Barona forged a path with first high-stakes games in 1983

In April 1983 the Barona Band of Mission Indians started drawing huge crowds for some of California’s first high-stakes Indian bingo periods held in a short lived corridor on the reservation north of Lakeside.

From The San Diego Union, Saturday, April sixteen, 1983:

By Barbara O’Neil, Employees Author, The San Diego Union

Security guard Pete Baker stood on the second-flooring balcony on the Barona Indian Reservation group middle yesterday afternoon and smiled knowingly as a loud, standing-room-only crowd of bingo players elbowed into place for opening day of Barona Bonus Bingo.

“You assume you’ve received a crowd right here now, nicely you ain’t seen nothing yet,” stated Baker. “I labored the Indian games in Florida, and there you’d see little previous women standing in line for 5 hours on the recent pavement just to play. These Indian games are something else once more.”

About 600 local bingo aficionados, many planning to play greater than 15 playing cards each, apparently thought “The Indian video games” have been going to be a great deal, too.

They came to the remoted reservation off State 67 from as near as Lakeside and so far as Oceanside yesterday to take their possibilities on the primary of what are the richest bingo video games within the state.

Jackpots from $300 to $1,500 are being provided for a minimal funding of just $5 for six cards each Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (matinee video games will probably be included on the weekends).

Whereas other native bingo operators are restricted to games three days every week and most jackpots of $250 by California regulation, the reservation is exempt from such restrictions.

“I got here here for the money, the prizes — what else?” stated Geraldine Bullard, who took off early from her job as an account clerk with the Ramona Unified Faculty District yesterday so she wouldn’t miss any of the action at Barona Bonus Bingo. “I feel this factor is basically going to go.”

Gracie Willette of Oceanside stated she additionally had left work early to be there when the doorways opened at four:30 p.m. “I just spent more than 90 minutes on the street to get here, nevertheless it’s value it. You need to know why I got here to date — the loot, honey, the loot.”

So many people confirmed up that the hall was jammed full about forty five minutes earlier than the first recreation at 6:30, and a lot of individuals have been turned away on the door.

Tribal officers stated they have been pleased with the turnout and talked about building a much bigger bingo parlor where jackpots up to $20,000 could possibly be provided seven days every week. They spoke hesitantly, nevertheless, as a result of as one tribe member, who requested to not be recognized, put it, “We’re unsure what the longer term will convey.”

The Barona Indians needed to battle several authorized battles with the county before being allowed to open the video games yesterday, and a attainable trip to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom still looms forward. County officers argue that state regulation ought to prevail over the reservation in addition to different bingo operators within the nation.

Final night time’s player stated they didn’t need to hear about such…

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