Reports of a ban on the popular bingo call, “two fat ladies,” the traditional bingo call for the number 88, had bingo players from all over the UK voicing out in protest at bingo becoming politically correct.
The issue of bingo calls being politically incorrect was first raised when the Sudbury Council at Suffolk banned John Sayers, the town’s former mayor and current manager of a bingo parlor at the town hall, from using “two fat ladies” and “legs eleven” as bingo calls. The council issued the ban only after receiving legal advice and counsel on the subject that the calls could offend overweight players who could then have grounds for a lawsuit.
“Two fat ladies” is one of the most popular bingo calls in the history of the game and the term was coined because the numbers resemble a pair of overweight women. The council’s ban on “Two fat ladies” has caused a bingo call that has been used for decades to be portrayed as an insult to overweight women in the audience. “Legs eleven” has also come into the range of fire and is being construed as a possible sexist comment. Although bingo players have spoken out in favour of the traditional bingo calls, the ban has placed these much loved bingo calls under a sort of politically correct magnifying glass, garnering global attention.
In a day when a doctor from North Carolina is in danger of losing his license for calling a female patient “fat,” the reasoning behind the decision made by the Sudbury council can be understood. However, the question of supporting the council’s decision is a different matter altogether, as the ban is seen as an imposition on the history and tradition of bingo as a game.
Bingo players have become so incensed at this interference into traditional bingo that they have launched a campaign to protect the traditional bingo calls and have managed to secure over 3000 signatures so far. Bingo hall managers and bingo players have also been very vocal with their disapproval at the ban, stating that the ban was impinging on the traditions of bingo and taking the fun out of the game.
Since this is an issue that deals with the political correctness of the bingo slang, it does not give bingo hall owners and managers much say in the matter and we can only wait to see whether the ban will be revoked much to the relief of thousands of bingo players all over the world or end up being replicated in other bingo halls, bringing yet another ban to bingo.
First it was the smoking ban, then it was the 22% bingo tax and now it is “Two fat ladies.”
What would we call out for the number 88, if not “two fat ladies”? Let us know your thoughts.

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