Bingo revenue is no longer the boost to Sudbury charities that it once was, and local groups are trying to make up gaps in their budgets as a result.
The two bingo halls in Greater Sudbury give about $2 million to dozens of charities each year, including hockey associations, churches and service clubs.
That figure is down nearly a $1 million from just two years ago.
The executive director of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association said its share of bingo money has shrunk by $7,000 in the past few years.
Kim Scott said she blames the provincial casinos and worries what will happen if a new one is built in Sudbury.
"Not only are [bingos] giving less to charity, they’re competing with [casions] for dollars that used to go to charity,” she said.
Plan to revitalize
The province said it is trying to get the bingo business rolling again with a strategy that includes bringing in more electronic games.
Tony Bitonti, a spokesperson for Ontario Lottery and Gaming, said a multi-year plan is in place.
“We’re looking at an eight-year model to make sure this is fully revitalized,” he said. “And we’re only at the end of year one in all of this.”
The general manager of the two Boardwalk Gaming Centres in Greater Sudbury said interest in new games is picking up, and the slide in revenues is slowing.
“The decline would have continued going … [down and] they may have been faced with not receiving any funding at all,” Denis Sivret said.
Charity groups are not the only organizations feeling a decline in revenue. The City of Greater Sudbury’s share is also about $100,000 lower than expected.
Bitonti declined to release how much the province's 25 per cent cut of bingo proceeds amounted to this year, because the halls are run by a private company.
Boardwalk Gaming Centres receives 47 per cent of the revenues.