altMuch as many people still visualise bingo halls being filled with sweet, little old ladies merrily daubing their cards, those of us who attend them know that often the truth is actually quite different. People of all ages and genders enjoy this fun and social game, which offers the thrill of a possible win at the same time. Two bingo-loving grannies from opposite ends of the country, in particular, however, have recently been accused of being anything but innocent when it comes to their favourite game.

In the Scottish city of Inverness, a 71-year-old pensioner has recently been convicted of stealing £7k from her daughter to fund her slot machine addiction. Celeste, her daughter, was living abroad with her soldier-husband at the same of the thefts, and only realised what was going on when she learned that her new bathroom had not been fitted, despite her having sent regular payments home to cover its cost. At Inverness Sheriff Court last month, Margaret Davies’ sentence was deferred in order for her to return to work and repay the money. She has also been banned from attending her local bingo hall, so there’ll be no more full houses or number 65: Old-Age Pension for her for a while!

Meanwhile, in the Stonehouse area of Plymouth, a grandmother has been in court on benefit fraud charges, for failing to tell authorities that her husband was being paid to sing and call bingo at their local pub. Despite the fact that Avril Battle’s husband allegedly gave the money he received to local good causes, Plymouth Magistrates Court heard that Avril had been overpaid more than £6,000 in income support due to her failure to inform the Department for Work and Pensions that her hubby was in remunerative employment. Whilst the prosecution argued that Avril had been claiming income support for the couple as they were both too ill to work, her solicitor claimed that she believed that her husband was occasionally helping in the pub “out of the kindness of his heart.” Mrs. Battle received a two-year conditional discharge and is now paying back the money that she owes.

We’d love to hear your opinions on these two stories. Do you know anyone who’s been affected by bingo crime, or perhaps driven to commit theft, fraud, or burglary due to a gambling habit? Plus, what do you think is a suitable punishment for these types of crimes?