Bingo news

Fort Frances Bingo Hall to Close Down Permanently December 31, 2006

The Fort Frances Bingo Hall has announced that it will be permanently folding up shop on December 31, 2006, after just opening at its new location on McIrvine Road this July. At the moment, these bingo operations currently employ about 12 people.

Linda Larocque, Vice President of the Fort Frances Bingo Association, said that a statement was already sent out to the bingo hall employees and the local Bingo Association stating, "As of December 31, 2006, 800438 Ontario Limited, operating as the Fort Frances Bingo Hall, will be closing its operations. Therefore, there will be a matinee on December 31, 2006, at which all the provincial pots must go." The letter was sent by New Liskeard, Ontario's Phillip Furtney and Gord Pageant, the owners of the bingo hall and the decision was not made by the local Bingo Association.

Larocque stated that, "We'd like to thank all our customers over the years for their loyalty and support". In addition, Larocque mentioned that the Fort Frances Bingo Association was shocked by the unexpected announcement.

Furthermore, Vice President of the Fort Frances Bingo Association claimed that the main reason given for the shut-down is "economic difficulties". Attendance at the bingo hall has decreased since Ontario instituted a provincial wide smoking ban on May 31, 2006. The first few weeks were fine because the smokers could still smoke their cigarettes outside the bingo hall. They tried to rectify the situation by giving the players a longer intermission so that they could smoke, but the number of players slowly declined, no matter what they did.

Larocque claims that about 20 local charities will be directly affected by the shut-down since these charities use bingo fund-raisers to get the money they need for their projects. These charities include the Fort Frances Aquanauts and Muskie Touchdown Club to the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau and FFHS band.

According to Larocque, the Bingo Association immediately took action when they received the news. They are currently searching for other venues where bingo nights can be held. The Bingo Association is still very much alive and currently trying its best to organize something for the New Year.

Vice President of the Fort Frances Bingo Association stated that a meeting will be held in January to discuss the fate ofbingo games in Ontario. They hope to still have the unwavering support of their customers in the New Year.

Many groups are dependent on the game of bingo for their survival. It will be truly disheartening if they won't be able to find some other source of revenue by the New Year.

As Larocque further stated, the Bingo Association is currently in talks with the Town of Fort Frances. They are hoping that the Town will help them get new licensing for the New Year, which would enable them to commence their bingo games immediately.


Monday, February 12, 2007
Karen Jacobs

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