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Jun
14th

Charitable Bingo Groups Fear pressure From Casinos

For decades churches and charities have depended on bingo games to raise money. Bingo has been one of the best options for organizations that want to raise some quick cash. Just about everyone knows how to play bingo and despite decreased attendance at some bingo games most players retain a love for the game. In the UK bingo is big business and just about every town and hamlet has its own High Street bingo hall. There are also about four hundred internet bingo sites targeting the huge number of bingo players in the UK. In the US most bingo games have been run by charities and churches. The expansion of bingo on Native American reservations and the opening of several private bingo halls have many charity groups nervous.

For most charities every piece and source of income is essential for them to provide the services so many depend on. Generally when private bingo halls move into an area attendance at charity games declines. Most charities cannot afford to offer players the huge jackpots they can win at private bingo halls. In many areas charities and veteran’s organizations have been forced to suspend long running bingo games because of private bingo halls. Private bingo halls are profit driven and offer players incentives and prizes that cannot be matched by charity groups. Because of the huge jackpots offered by private bingo halls it is inevitable that some players will abandon charity games in favor of mega jackpot games at private bingo halls.

In Ohio charity bingo games have been hit hard by the recession and the opening of a few casinos. Recently nonprofit organizations that depend on bingo for their survival have voiced concerns about four new casinos scheduled to open soon. Charitable groups say that the new casinos will hinder their ability to raise funds. Bingo has been a lucrative moneymaker for charities and it has been estimated that charitable bingo games have raised over $850 million dollars during the period from 2005 to 2009. Although the figure is an estimate it shows just how much is at stake for charitable organizations the operate bingo games.

In Ohio the Veterans of Foreign Wars point out the effect private bingo halls and casinos have had on charitable gaming in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania several veterans groups suspended bingo games because of pressure from casinos and bingo parlors. Although the four new casinos are not yet open Ohio charities fear the worst.