Shirley Bustillos, blue bingo winner at Chumash Casino

Shirley Bustillos, of Santa Paula, displays the check she received after hitting an all-blue bingo for $98,720, the largest bingo jackpot ever paid out at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez.

Contributed photo

A longtime regular bingo player at the Chumash Casino Resort recently hit a multiprogressive jackpot for the largest single payout in the 23 years the game has been played there.

Shirley Bustillos, 75, of Santa Paula, made local bingo history May 3 when she won the $98,720 jackpot at the casino in Santa Ynez.

Bustillos had just settled in for the regular Wednesday night bingo session in the Samala Showroom when she won the first game for $1,000, which was thrilling enough, but she said what happened next was “unbelievable.”

It seemed the winning “B-13” ball had also given her an all-blue bingo on the casino’s color-coded jackpot program.

“I was just excited to win the $1,000, but when the bingo caller said the winner hit the blue jackpot, too, people started clapping and cheering,” Bustillos said. “My friend said, ‘Shirley, that’s you. You won the jackpot.’

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I never thought I’d win anything like that. God just opened up a window from heaven and poured his blessings on me.”

In 2015, Chumash Casino Resort enhanced its bingo sessions by offering MPBingo, a program from Planet Bingo, the company that supplies a set of progressive jackpots during regular-session games, a casino spokeswoman said.

The color-coded jackpots build up as a result of multiple bingo halls being linked to the program.

Bustillos is the first bingo player at Chumash Casino Resort to hit the highest-level blue progressive jackpot, the spokeswoman said.

“I knew about those green and blue jackpots, but I figured those weren’t for me — other people would win those,” Bustillos said.

“I’ve been coming to the Chumash Casino Resort for bingo since it was a tent,” she added. “I’ve won at bingo before. I’ve hit $2,500 a couple of times, but never anything like this.”

She said the excitement made it difficult to focus throughout the rest of the bingo session, but she enjoyed all the congratulations she received from fellow players and casino staff.

“When our team members found out it was Shirley who won, they got so excited,” said Belinda Miranda, director of Bingo Operations at the casino. “It’s fun to see anyone win at bingo, but when it’s someone who has been a guest of ours for that many years, it really makes it special.”

The casino hosts bingo Sunday through Wednesday, with entry fees starting at $27. Information on schedules and current progressive jackpots is available at chumashcasino.com/casino/bingo.

Owned and operated by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, the Chumash Casino Resort’s gaming floor also contains 2,300 slot machines, dozens of table games and poker.

This report was compiled by News Editor Mike Hodgson. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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