Thursday, June 20, 1996 | 11:59 a.m.
At Boulder Station, bingo balls are rolling along.
Wednesday morning at 6:30 there was already a line of people waiting for Las Vegas' newest bingo room to open.
At 8 a.m. sharp, the first bingo ball was dropped and a near-capacity crowd waited for the first numbers to be called.
"There are too many people here," said Eulaine Koellner of Las Vegas. "With so many people, it's harder to win."
With 600 seats, six 50-inch televisions and a grand design, the 8,000-square-foot room offers all the amenities required for local bingo players who compete for cash prizes in 10 sessions each day.
To commemorate the grand opening Wednesday, a $3,000 coverall was offered during the 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. sessions.
"This is a new venture for us, said Don Marrandino, Boulder Station's vice president and general manager. "It's another way for Boulder Station to offer more entertainment value to our guests."
The construction of the bingo room -- complete with stained glass, mahogany tables and paneling -- will certainly help to cement Boulder Station's reputation as Boulder Highway's plum gaming establishment.
In recent years, bingo has enjoyed a rejuvenation at downtown and Boulder Highway casinos. Officials attribute this to the fact that more younger people and more men turn to bingo as a chance to make big money for a small investment.
But it's a different story on the Strip where many bingo parlors have closed in recent years to make room for more profitable slot machines and other amenities.
In March 1995, Harrah's closed its bingo parlor after 22 years in order to convert the space into a comedy showroom. With the closure, only two bingo parlors remain on the Strip: at the Aladdin and the Frontier.
Marrandino said the bingo parlor was added at Boulder Station in response to customer requests.
"Bingo is not a winner for casinos. Typically, rooms lose money," said Marrandino, who explained that the losses come when casinos increase prize money to stay competitive.
Words such as these are music to the ears of Celeste Kern of Forestville, Calif.
"I just love bingo. You could say I'm a fanatic," Kern said. "It's the lure of winning big money for a small investment."