Honk for Bingo: Bingo lovers get their fix from their cars in Windsor

Bingo lovers in Windsor were finally able to get their fix, get out of the house and keep their distance Saturday as Parking Lot Bingo took up a large portion of the lot at the All Star Gaming Centre at Walker Road and Ottawa Street.

Around 450 showed up Saturday afternoon to get their bingo fix

Layne Hoskins collects $200 after hitting bingo on a double line in parking lot bingo on Sunday afternoon. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Bingo lovers in Windsor were finally able to get their fix, get out of the house and keep their physical distancing intact Saturday as Parking Lot Bingo set up outside the All Star Gaming Centre at Walker Road and Ottawa Street.

"This is what we've been able to do under the new rules that are going on right now," said Tony Rosa, president of Community Gaming and Entertainment Group. The company runs all the charitable gaming centres and bingo halls in Windsor and the town of Tecumseh.

"Just honk your horn and we'll come a runnin'," he said.

Approximately 450 players dabbed their cards from the comfort of their cars as a caller broadcast over a FM radio frequency.

Vehicles pictured in the overflow lot for Parking Lot Bingo on Saturday afternoon. About 450 people bought in to play. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Rosa said the group limited its marketing for the event to email and social media, concerned they might get too many people. This was the second event held by group and even without any major marketing, the response was big.

"We offer them a spot and a good time for a couple of hours," Rosa said.

"They love it. We've had a tremendous response." 

Bingo numbers are called inside and announced over an FM frequency to the vehicles outside. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

The event raises money for approximately 80 local charities, so getting the game going again gives people a reason to get out and some relief for the different organizations that rely on the funds.

"Now through these parking lot bingos they'll be able to get some monies and we'll get some money in their hand that they have not had in over four months," Rosa said.

"That's what we're doing it for." 

Honk for bingo

Instead of yelling bingo, the winners honked their horns alerting attendants who would come and check their cards.

"You have to use two hands. Honk the horn and turn the lights on," Karen Ryan said.

"It think it's a good idea, it's just like a drive in theatre, right? So why not do it this way, if it works — it works." 

One thing Ryan misses, however, is the camaraderie that comes with playing in a crowd.

"You're by yourself in a car, you got nobody yakking, making lots of noise, you know what I mean?" 

Players dabbed their bingo cards in their cars and honked their horns when they hit a winning combination. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"Woohoo!" Layne Hoskins exclaimed after hitting a double line for a $200 prize. "We broke even now." 

"It's nice to be able to do something other than sit in your house... We're safe, right, we're in our own car and no-one's coughing on anybody. We've got facilities to use if we need it, we're good," said Hoskins.

This was the second parking lot bingo event for the Community Gaming and Entertainment Group. The group plans to hold more — including later this week.

Rosa says, considering the success so far, it may even continue after the pandemic fades. 

"Who knows what the future will bring," Rosa said. 

Bingo balls are pulled inside and announced over the radio to the vehicles outside. This was the second Parking Lot Bingo organized by the Community Gaming and Entertainment Group. (Jacob Barker/CBC)



Jacob Barker


Jacob Barker is a videojournalist for CBC Windsor.


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