Canadian Charity Bingo Providers Say Changes Needed

Charity bingo operators across Nova Scotia Canada are asking the government for help. Operators say that if the provincial government does not step in charity bingo could disappear from the province. Larry Farrell who is a bingo consultant and spokesman for the Metro Bingo Association said the issue is important to charity bingo providers because the government regulates and taxes charity bingo games. Farrell stated, “We’ve gone to see the minister and the alcohol and gaming division. We’ve put forth some things that we would (want) to see very seriously considered, and some of them immediately, if not sooner, because what’s happening right now in the province of Nova Scotia is bingo is dying.”

Charity bingo in Canada is in real trouble. In Windsor which is just across the bridge from Detroit the number of bingo halls has declined and bingo players are left with limited choices. Most experts cite competition from casinos that are well capitalized and can offer jackpots and prizes that charitable bingo games cannot match. The Metro Bingo Association would like to expand to form a Nova Scotia Bingo organization to give a stronger voice to the 229 charitable bingo organizations across the province. Issues that the Bingo Association wants the government to look into include doing away with the fee in prizes and allowing the use of hand held devices to help players with visual or physical impairments play bingo without having to use hand held daubers.

Charity bingo halls want to increase profitability and attract new players. Farrell listed some of the benefits provided by charity bingo and said that bingo “buys fire trucks, it buys wheelchairs, it buys hospital beds, it buys all of these things.”  Farrell also cited the high fees charity bingo must pay on prizes. Farrell stated, “One of the biggest, biggest things that is upsetting to our association is the fact that the government requires that . . . charity bingos pay a 2.13 per cent fee on the prize money they hand out. In metro alone, that adds up to over $200,000 a year.” The government has been slow to respond and the director of the provincial alcohol and gaming division says that any changes will require investigation and amendments to the current regulations. One solution could be for the charity bingo operators to go on the internet and provide online bingo sites like BingoBoat. Bingo sites are legal in Canada and since the technology is already in place the move could be accomplished without much difficulty and would bring in extra revenue for charitable organizations in Nova Scotia and across Canada.

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