story & photo
by Alexis Ann
Bingo veteran of 22 years and Tribal member, Michael Holder, VP Operations, Mashantucket Pequot High Stakes Bingo at Foxwoods, is a Day Two employee of Bingo. So, why not Day One?
“I was transitioning from my previous employer, Electric Boat, to High Stakes Bingo at Mashantucket,” states Mike with a gleam in eyes. “Calling bingo was my first job and eventually, I worked every job on the floor, including admissions, selling pull tabs, even washing and waxing the floor.” Mike continues, “Probably the only job I didn’t do was to work in the kitchen.” Though Mike admits to grilling himself a burger a time or two especially, after the long hours spent on the floor in the early days.
If you were around in the early days of MPTN High Stakes Bingo, you know that it all started with this game of chance. The first location for the Tribe’s lucrative enterprise was a 1200-seat hall and is now the home of Festival’s slot room. Mike gazes down into the original hall from his office windows and remembers the excitement created by this very popular game.
“Opening day was very stressful, we promised a huge prize payout and a new car giveaway. Back then, prize money availability was directly linked to ticket sales. We were concerned and questioned, ‘Will they come?’”
“Well, they did come! Route 2 was backed up and the parking lots were full. We had to make room for as many as we could. Still, some were turned away. Today, we have three times the seating capacity with extended games and they continue to fill our hall.”
Mike says, “It ALL started right here!” Bingo was MPTN’s first lucrative enterprise and its showings afforded the opportunity for a builder named Charles R. Klewin, Norwich, to take a chance and build a casino on a handshake. Today, that casino, Foxwoods, is the largest in the world and the game of bingo is its foundation. Think about it!
“We are the only bingo hall anywhere that pays out ONE MILLION Dollars in one lump sum.”
Last month during the Firecracker Game held on 4th of July weekend for the past 12 years, a man from New Jersey, a first-time bingo player went home with the million bucks, paid on-the-spot!
Players come from all over the world to play in this game and it’s not tough to figure out why they travel from Bermuda, Germany and Canada. “The total pay-out is $1.7M with five early bird specials at $5K each; 17 at $20K each; and a Super Jackpot in three parts: $25K to $1M plus a 2008 Corvette give-away and $100K cash door prizes…all for $500 a ticket.
So, what does Mike like best about his job? “The people I work with. They make my job rewarding.”
Mike takes great pride in his very lucrative Bingo operation. His employees, some of whom started with him from the very beginning are dedicated to running a very tight ship for the massive crowds that attend regularly.
In response to a direct question: “Is BINGO here to stay?”
Mike replies, “The Tribe holds Bingo close to its heart. There will always be Bingo at Foxwoods,” as stated by the Tribal Council to Mike.
Don’t miss September’s Special Games and Octoberfest Bingo! Tickets are on sale now!