Alberta Charities Suffering Without Bingo

By Ben Hamill - June 11 2020
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Alberta Charities Suffering Without Bingo

Non-profit Alberta charities and charitable support organisations are beginning to suffer the consequences of province-wide temporary casino, Bingo and charitable gaming venue closures. According to Brenda Thiruchelvam of the Edmonton Columbian Choirs, some 20,000 organisations rely on daily gaming operations for their bread and butter. Over the course of 2018 alone, Alberta charities received a staggering CA$347 million from brick-and-mortar Bingo and gaming operations in the region, and so it stands to good reason that this income is at this present time, and especially given the state of current economic circumstances, sorely missed.

Charitable organisations rely heavily on casinos and other gaming- and Bingo venues. Help includes everything from quarterly casino fund allocations to fundraising events hosted by gaming and entertainment operators in the province. But since none of these have been able to do business since around the middle of March, operators have not been in a financial position to continue with much-needed charitable contributions and the hosting of fundraising events.

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Bingo Is A Bust Too

The Edmonton Columbian Choirs is just one of thousands of other organisations completely dependent on charitable gambling revenue for its day to day survival and work. The organisation in 2018 managed to raise at least CA$105,000 with the help of its charitable colleagues in the gaming and gambling industry. The money was mostly used for the purpose of subsidising membership fees. Individuals who previously relied on subsidies in order to attend ensemble meetings and congregations are now no longer able to do so for a lack of sponsorship funding.

Another avenue of immense help that has now all but run dry, is the hosting of regular Bingo events. Bingo events hosted by the choirs used to number around 14 events on an annual basis. Alberta residents were well-familiar with the schedule and Bingo events used to be well-attended. The next of these events was supposed to have taken place in the month of July but will now in all likelihood have to be cancelled due to Alberta casinos not yet having had received the green light from local government to reopen for in-person gambling.

Relief In The Summer

According to an online survey conducted by Imagine Canada, at least 70% of all charity organisations country-wide have reported a major slump in revenue received. The hope is that gambling venues and casinos across Alberta will be in a position to gradually reopen for business over the course of the coming summer. There are many people who rely on gambling revenue and charity for the keeping together of life and limb.

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