At one time Canada was a British colony so it should come as no surprise that bingo is a popular national pastime. The game is played in every province and in the far north there are even radio bingo games for those in remote inaccessible locations. Under the current government scheme a certain percentage of every bingo game must be donated to charity. Bingo halls partner with various charities to generate money for good causes. Because of the British influence traditional 75 ball games and British style 90 ball games are offered. In Ontario new electronic bingo cards may replace the old fashioned paper cards. In Kingston Ontario the local government has entered into a long term with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to allow electronic bingo machines in two local bingo halls. These are the same machines that generated so much controversy in the United States and resulted in two well publicized trials in Alabama.
As part of a provincial pilot project the Treasure Chest bingo hall in Kingston has been providing electronic bingo games for the past seven years. The city of Kingston and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation want to make a permanent agreement that would allow electronic bingo in two local bingo halls. Bingo hall operators and charities hope the new electronic games will generate more revenues for hall owners and local charities. Linda Daigle, who organized the nonprofit games during the provincial pilot project, said the games have been successful and told reporters “At first I wasn’t sure but it has been a great success.”
City officials said that because of recent smoking bans attendance at local bingo games has been declining and it is hoped the new electronic games will bring in more players. Kim Leonard, Kingston’s manager of licensing and enforcement, stated “We’ve had other gambling resources available close to the community. This will maybe help bring more interest back to our community.” Operators and charities hope the new e-bingo games will generate interest in younger players resulting in higher revenues. Linda Keast, treasurer of the charitable Civitan club described what lower player numbers are doing to local charities. Keast said “We run about 20 bingos a year and we only made about $8,000. Hopefully with the new system that amount will go up.”
In addition to the local e-bingo games Canadians have a huge selection of online bingo sites to choose from. Most offer 75 and 90 ball games along with great bonus offers and regular promotions. In addition there are some online bingo sites where players can donate to their favorite charities while they play.