Bingo Supports Charities of All Types: Play Bingo to Support the Community

By Ben Hamill - January 28 2016

Hidden Benefits of Charity

Last time I spoke about how charitable bingo centers are retooling to attract younger players.

This week I want to talk a bit about the charitable organizations that receive funding through charitable bingo. It is because of these groups that I have very reluctantly accepted the New World Order of charitable bingo: electronic games that more resemble land-based slot machine banks than the games heretofore available at bingo centres!

If You Can't Play at a Centre Play Bingo at Euro Palace

Rip Van Susan

The times seem to have changed all around me before I was aware that there was something afoot. Electronics have so taken over our lives that people will go back home kilometres out of their way to get the cell phone or tablet they left on the kitchen table!

About thirty years ago I read a book about a businessman. He had given a reporter the chance to follow him around for a few weeks. The reporter wrote that at one time, after they'd been in the air and in traffic for several hours, they arrived at the man's office and he said something like: "I'm sure you also need some telephone time." It was before cell phones were prominent.

Today after a day of meetings the sentence might be: "I'm sure you also need some screen time."

So it shouldn't surprise anyone that even charitable bingo centers are offering "screen time" in order to attract patrons who will keep the centres afloat and provide needed funds for charitable organizations.

Here I will present a few charities that receive money from charitable "bingo":

  • Bayridge Secondary School which was established only 42 years ago. Their Statement of Beliefs emphasizes the synergy between Success, Community, and Tradition. I personally am quite sympathetic to a school that sees community and tradition as equally important as success, unlike too many of our neighbors to the south!
  • Gananoque Canoe Club. The club started way back in 1906 when a group of guys who loved canoeing….went canoeing. Soon they began to refer to their club. Today, the Club teaches canoeing and kayaking skills to people of many ages. They have a summer camp where they emphasize teamwork through the art of canoeing.
  • Newmarket Stingrays Swim Club. This is a competitive swim club but emphasizes the pursuit of excellence over actual excellence. As a non-profit organization it combines teaching the swimming skills needed to compete with community skills everyone needs, even those who lack the swimming skills necessary for competition.
  • Canadian Spinal Research Organization. The website of the Canadian/American Spinal Research Organizations states in big bold type that 90% of what we know now about spinal cord injuries has been learned only in the past 20 years. I suspect that the really big money for research comes from sources other than charitable bingo. Nevertheless, the fact that bingo supports this organization means that the research can proceed apace.
  • Autism Society of Richmond Hill. The Autism society is dedicated to making the public more aware of the needs of the autistic and their families. This is work vital to the community all Canadians wish to create and maintain. Were it not for organizations like the Autism Society, public awareness of autism would become "just another government project". The local hands on touch is so important in cases like this!
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Barrie and District. Big Brothers and Big Sisters say that they are the most prominent mentoring group helping young people learn coping skills. During the Christmas season, Big Brothers Big Sisters organized gift wrapping. Clearly, not every activity is a world shaking one but helping kids learn life skills is important in every context.
  • Talk is Free Theatre of Barrie. This avant garde theatre was established only in 2002 but has already produced 60 or more shows. Their mission is to showcase new writing, neglected older productions, and to re-examine the classics, sometimes radically.
  • Blue Door Soup Kitchen of Sudbury. This wonderful soup kitchen provides 150-200 free hot meals every day during lunch hours.
  • John Howard Society of Sudbury. There are 65 John Howard Society offices throughout Canada. I don't know how many benefit from charitable bingo. As I perused charity lists, I saw the name John Howard society quite often. The Society works toward reintegrating criminals into society after they have served their prison sentences. The society also tries to help citizens from breaking laws in the first place. The Society uses the terms: Effective, Just, Humane to describe their mission. Effective reintegration into society coupled with crime prevention; Just criminal justice system; Humane treatment of prisoners.
  • Greater Kingston Girls Hockey Association. The association sponsors six divisions and 17 teams from novice to senior.
  • MusicMates. This is a charitable organization that uses music therapy to foster social relationships. It was started by a woman in the music field who began MusicMates as a program to help her own special needs child.

There are literally hundreds of worthy groups that benefit financially through charitable bingo. I don't know how the managers of these organizations feel about the dramatic changes that are taking place in charitable bingo. I suspect that at least some if not many or most are less than thrilled to be sponsoring charity events at centres that are also trying to attract people to play the electronic games.

As I said last time, the centres will resemble land-based casinos more and more as the owners discover that there is more profit in electronic games than in paper bingo. I sincerely hope that the new regime will anticipate the negative aspect of electronic gambling and will move in enough time to prevent the charitable bingo centres from devolving into "just another casino".

Euro Palace is Much More Than Just Another Casino