E-Gaming Boosts Charity Bingo in Canada

In Ontario Canada the Boardwalk Gaming Centre is hoping that new electronic bingo machines help boost the declining charitable gaming industry. Ten years ago there were 230 bingo centers that supported 6,000 charities. Denis Sivret, the Boardwalk Gaming Centre’s general manager told reporters “Now you’re looking at 61 supporting 2,000 charities.” The Boardwalk Gaming Centre was one of six charitable gaming centres in Ontario that participated in a pilot program introduce electronic bingo to complement the old fashioned paper versions of the game.

Electronic bingo players can interact with their virtual bingo cards using a touch screen. The Boardwalk Gaming Centre’s charity coordinator Richard Schwar stated “With the introduction of new products and services, we are able to turn the corner on the decline of charitable gaming in Ontario. We will now be able to provide a sustainable source of revenue for our associated charities to continue their important work in communities.” Sivret said that the electronic bingo machines have been popular with players since they were first introduced in 2005. Customers can still play the paper version of the game but many players are opting for the electronic option.

In 2011 the Boardwalk Gaming Centre generated $1.8 million for 98 local charities. The centre’s Val Caron site served another 56 charities and generated $800,000 in 2011. Charities include the Sudbury Food Bank, local schools and organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and the Lions Club. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation president Rod Phillips said in a press statement “The revitalization of charitable gaming in Ontario is vital to local charities, providing them with a long-term means to fundraise in the community.” 25% of the net gaming profits go to local charities. Schwar said “We all sort of share in the same pie,” said Schwar. “So as the business grows everybody benefits.”

Recently the Boardwalk Gaming Centre added the latest addition to the center’s e-gaming library. The center added 25 break-open ticket dispensers that will show graphic representations of tickets. Sivret said the new machines are another way to make charitable gaming sustainable. Some are hoping the machines will be popular with younger players. Bingo is extremely popular in Canada and recently the first Canadian internet bingo site was launched. In Canada charities have depended on bingo for fund raising for decades.