Electronic Bingo Games a hit at Jackpot City Bingo in Sarnia, Ontario.
Throughout the ages, so many once-beloved entertainment venues have found themselves on the endangered species list. Theatrical stages have given way to movie theaters. Board games were overrun by PC and video games. More recently, the world’s love for bingo has been surpassed by the digital realm of slot machines and casino table games.
The problem was amplified by a situation a bit too close to home for residents of Sarnia, Ontario. The Canadian province has witnessed the closure of dozens of bingo halls over the last few years. In Sarnia alone, gaming fans remember a time when 11 charitable bingo halls stood tall. Now, just one remains – Jackpot City Bingo on Upper Canada Drive.
It wasn’t long ago the Jackpot City in Sarnia nearly saw its doors closed for good, just like all of its former competitors. But the Ontario Charitable Gaming Authority (OCGA) had one last idea to breathe life back into the establish. And it worked!
Electronic Bingo Games Save the Day in Sarnia
Electronic Bingo, a.k.a. E-Bingo, is a much more modern form of the classic game. While many feel that old-school bingo is just that – old fashioned and out of date – imbuing the classic action onto a digital touch-screen monitor has made all the difference in terms of revitalizing its entertainment value.
The transformation began back in 2015 when the OCGA saw it fit to renovate the bingo games at the Sarnia location. The idea was to create an atmosphere, ambiance and gaming experience that could compete with the slot machines and electronic table games at today’s land-based casinos.
Interactive bingo games were the agreed upon answer, and boy has their presence turned around the level of patronage for the Jackpot City location. The introduction of interactive E-Bingo games has been a boon for business, delivering much needed flexibility and innovation in an ever-demanding field of entertainment.
$5 Million Worth of Proof in Pudding
As they say, the proof is in the pudding. In this case, it’s CA $5 million worth of delicious, charitable pudding that’s making its way around the Sarnia community. On April 15, 2019, the revitalization efforts of Ontario came full circle when the charitable gaming authority shared 25% of all local e-Bingo revenue with the area’s charities and to help fund community projects. All told, the community received $5,000,000, based on earning over the past 36 months since the electronic games were installed.
Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey was on hand Friday to present the over-sized cardboard cheque to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.
“There was a time where we thought the industry would be totally extinguished,” said Mayor Bradley, proudly holding the symbolic cheque made out to Citizens of Sarnia. “It’s been great what you’ve done,” he said, addressing MPP Bailey. “It’s been innovative; it’s been cutting edge to turn an industry around and make it work for the community.”
Shirely Petit, President of the Sarnia Bingo Country Charities Association, confirmed that the sum of $5 million will be shared between Lambton County’s 99 recipient charities. “All funds raised by the charities in Jackpot City are spent here in Lambton County,” said Petit.
In a Tweet, MPP Bailey expressed his pride in the outstanding results of a three-year commitment, calling it, “a huge milestone today for Ontario’s Charitable Bingo and Gaming Revitalization initiative and the Sarnia County Gaming Association…”