Casino Competition Hurting Charity Bingo Games

A recent St. Louis news story detailed the plight of charitable bingo games in Missouri. Ruby Murray a 78 year old retiree is a regular at the charity bingo games hosted by the Moolah Shriners. Like most people who play bingo online Murray has her favorite seat in the hall’s smoking section even though she quit smoking years ago. “You can’t sit just anywhere,” says Murray. Murray is surrounded by game regulars Maria, Kim, Alicia and Ginny who have also been playing at the game for years. Attendance at the games is not what it used to be as players are lured away from charity bingo games by games at huge flashy casinos. The bingo jackpots at the casinos are much larger than the charity jackpots and all across the region charity bingo games are in trouble.

During the last ten years the funds generated by charity bingo games has dropped 35% to a little over $100 million dollars a year. The number of bingo licenses issued by the state of Missouri has fallen to 353 from 608. During the same period bingo revenue in Illinois has fallen by 50%. Similar declines have taken place across the United States and many charity groups that use bingo as their main fundraising tool are in financial trouble. As charity bingo games fold many players have had a tough time to replace the friendly social atmosphere in their local bingo hall.

Bingo news sites have long pointed out that for players bingo is much more than just a game. Alicia Smith, 26, is one of the younger players at the Moolah Shriners bingo games and stated, “The best part of coming out to bingo is the people you sit around. This is more than just bingo. It’s the equivalent of a book club.” For many older players bingo provides a chance to socialize and is inexpensive. Murray, who retired from the accounting department at AT&T plays bingo four times a week and says that for $30 dollars she can play bingo three hours. She sometimes visits the local casinos to play slot games but says that her money lasts longer playing bingo.

Bingo sites have been documenting the decline of charity bingo in the US. Casinos have put a lot of charity games out of business. Most charity bingo games cannot compete with what the large casinos have to offer. Despite the competition from the large flashy casinos many bingo players are sticking with their favorite charity games.

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