A new plan for bingo in Thunder Bay could bring in more money for local charities if city council gives the green light to electronic bingo.
If council agrees to a partnership with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, bingo players could soon put down their dabbers and hunker down behind touch-screen terminals at Thunder Bay Community Bingo.
The OLG's Ryan Bissonette said e-Bingo could also help the community's 70 local charities raise even more money than they currently bring in.
"The charitable bingo and gaming industry has been in decline in the last decade and the goal is to create a new experience to retain current players [and] to attract new customers as well," he said. "[E-Bingo] will provide them with a sustainable source of funds, and the ability to raise more funds."
However, one current player at Thunder Bay Community Bingo said she knows the kind of game she likes.
"I like the old school bingo," Diane Moyer said. "I don't like the machines."
The terminals won’t replace traditional bingo, the OLG says. The two modes of playing would exist, side-by-side, with everyone playing the same numbers.
E-bingo could show up in Thunder Bay as early as next spring.
The OLG started installing e-Bingo terminals in 2005 during a pilot project held in Barrie, Sudbury, Kingston, Peterborough and Windsor. The corporation is scheduled to make a presentation to Thunder Bay city council on Monday.
According to a report by Thunder Bay city administration, the sites in other cities demonstrated an initial 9.5 per cent growth in revenue.