Fantasy Springs opens Bingo Palace

Fantasy Springs Casino is offering a technological boost for today’s bingo enthusiasts.

Its new Bingo Palace, a 15,000-square-foot addition that opened Friday, offers 6-foot-tall video screen monitors as well as laptop computers to help players keep track of dozens of electronic “cards” — all at the same time.

Bingo Manager Tony Amato said the portable bingo units let patrons play more than 200 cards at one time during any game. When the bingo ball is drawn, the machines pick up its radio frequency and mark the cards that have that number.

“The machine shows players the three best cards so they can play on paper at the same time,” Amato said.

Fantasy Springs offers 168 of the laptop devices in its 750-seat bingo hall.

Officials declined to disclose financial details on the hall’s cost.

Casino regular Phyllis Heynen, who visits Fantasy Springs a few days each week, spent $65 Monday trying the devices.

“I like the handhelds,” she said. “I have a little edge over the (players) who don’t want to put the money out.”

A customer must purchase at least 48 cards, the minimum buy-in, to use the laptops during the casino’s matinee session. Patrons using only daubers and paper cards can get in on the action purchasing just cards.

The price of entry into the game varies depending on the payout level as well as whether customers are attending the morning or evening bingo sessions.

In addition to the technological improvements, Fantasy Springs also added a glass partition to separate the smokers from the nonsmokers.

“I like it better, said part-time Indio resident Leland Rebitzke, who has been visiting the bingo hall for about eight years. “You don’t have that smoke.”

Mary Monroy agreed saying the partition allows her to enjoy the game without aggravating her asthma.