1199 – Revitalization of Charitable (Bingo) Gaming
The first half of 2014 has not seen this initiative slowing down. It is continuing at a tremendous pace with twenty three (23) c-Gaming Centres now converted into the program.
This speaks volumes for the partnership among all stakeholders in continuing to deliver this important government initiative for the numerous communities around the province who benefit from hosting a Charitable Gaming Centre in their municipality.
The Charitable Gaming Sector in Ontario has been long established for well over thirty (30) years and has had a lengthy history of making a considerable contribution to the life of the host communities. This is often overlooked or forgotten when looking at the changing landscape of the gaming sector in Ontario.
The Charitable Gaming Sector has time-honoured relationships with local Councillors, Licensing Departments, Provincial Members of Parliament and in some cases Federal Members of Parliament. This has been borne out through the success that the sector has achieved with no host municipality refusing an approval to convert over to the new model.
There have been various elements within c-Gaming that have been underway for some months, which I list below for your reference:
Welland – Launched in early spring 2014. This became the first ‘Small Centre’ to convert over to the new model. The Small Centre Strategy is a platform to engage smaller businesses into the initiative through an effective and efficient deployment of product, combined with measured investment from the Commercial Operator. This is the second Centre in the G&S (Mr. Jerry Root) Group to convert, with Golden Nugget (Fort Erie) converting late last year.
Leamington – Based in southern Ontario, this joins Welland as part of the Small Centre Strategy and we look forward to monitoring their progress in the coming months. The Taptix Units will be deployed shortly.
St. Clair (Toronto) – The largest single conversion to date, this Centre (Delta Gaming) will have the largest number of bingo terminals on the system at any one time and will also undertake to trial a new product (Turbo Challenge) on the system. Delta Gaming continues to push forward with the c-Gaming initiative. Their commitment and investment remains high
Research – Under the guidance of Ms. Mary O’Neill (OLG) and industry representation from the CGAO, we have undertaken two pieces of critical research to guide the future direction of c-Gaming from a consumer point of view. Presentations have been made to the General Membership and those decks are available on our web site (www.cgao.ca) on the OLG page. This research is going to form the foundation of future development and I strongly recommend that everyone take a moment to read through it. If you have questions, speak to either Mr. Mary O’Neill or myself.
Turbo Challenge – This had received formal approval from the AGCO and is now being launched at Delta Gaming Centre (Toronto) and shortly Rama Gaming (Mississauga) to ensure that it is received well from the consumers positioning. There has been a Point of Sales Package put together to launch this product and it is available on the OLG’s – c-Gaming Toolbox. I would greatly encourage all Commercial Operators to use these materials in their Centres as the creative pieces are both informative and appealing.
POD Progressive – The system conversions are in progress or completed in the majority of Centres. This re-tuning of the progressive element of the Pod Product is targeted to be more appealing to our traditional bingo consumers.
Taptix Units – Various pieces of product enhancements ranging from Single Ply, Promotional Voucher, Progressive, and Multi Demo are all under consideration or going through the approval process. There has been engagement by the Vendor, CGAO and OLG Teams in forging a path through this in a measured and constructive fashion. It is our [CGAO] opinion that the upgrades can only add to consumer acceptance and begin the challenging process of engaging the first time or new consumer into a c-Gaming Centre.
Policies – As we evolve so does the requirement of compliance within the new environment. It has been tremendous the level of co-operation and guidance we have been receiving from both c-Gaming Compliance (OLG) and the AGCO Field Teams. This is not to say that it is without its challenges but that is a natural process when you engage in this level of ‘Change Management’. However, we are seeing individuals embrace change constructively and adapting to the new operating environment.
Prizeboard – As we see the conversion & development phases of the Centres pass, we are naturally looking at the business elements and managing the margins. Bingo still remains a core element of the business and Commercial Operators are beginning to turn their minds to maximizing this area of the business. We must bear in mind that prizeboard percentage is not a simple number to move. It is inter-linked to Admissions and Gross Revenue so a broader more careful approach is required.
Over the past few years the Charitable Gaming Sector has proven that partnership with government (both municipal & provincial), local non-profit, Charity Groups and Commercial Operators does work and achieves meaningful results for numerous communities in this province.