1205 – Revitalization of Charitable (Bingo) Gaming
As we head into the fall of 2014, we continue to see the initiative gaining traction. The recent launch of Riverview Bingo Palace (Chatham) now takes the total Charitable Bingo Centres converted to twenty four (24). This becomes the largest single channel for Venue Gaming in the province.
It 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.
Over the last twenty years (20yrs) the Bingo Sector has faced tremendous competitive challenges from government led gaming initiatives (Resort Casino’s & Racino’s). This has seen the sector decline from 214 Centres to the present day 61. This initiative, the Revitalization of Charitable (Bingo) Gaming, finally gives an opportunity to ensure that we can re-establish Charitable Gaming in the province.
There have been various elements within c-Gaming that have been underway for some months, which I list below for your reference:
Fort Erie - On the 8th October 2014, Delta Gaming Centre (Uncle Sam’s) Fort Erie will convert to c-Gaming. It will join the other Centre (Golden Nugget) in the town who converted earlier this year.
Simcoe - In November 2014 we will see the third (3rd) small Centre converted over to c-Gaming. This will join its sister location in Leamington who converted a couple of months ago.
Thunder Bay - As we close out the year in December, we head north to Thunder Bay as they launch the c-Gaming Centre. This is the first fully ‘Charitable’ owned and operated Centre to join the initiative. They have undergone a tremendous change with a new location and a total re-branding of the Centre to Superior Shores Gaming Centre (see below).
Toolbox - Additional materials are being added to the Toolbox for Centres to promote the conversion and product change. This material has been aligned and cross referenced to the recent research and will likely be available from November 2014. The OLG c-Gaming Team and CGAO Representatives have been working with the OLG Marketing Agency in producing these materials. They are designed to follow on from the Bingo is Back campaign.
Marketing Funds - The CGAO has been engaged in discussion with the OLG over the 2% & 5% Marketing Funds, how they are deployed and who is responsible for what. This has been a constructive exercise and we will be re-grouping to discuss the findings and the critical next steps. We must remember that marketing is a major piece in re-engaging and re-building this sector.
Turbo Challenge - The majority of c-Gaming Centres have now been upgraded with Turbo Challenge on their system and are slowly re-introducing this product in their programs. This is an important product as it generates margins with a prizeboard running (with the progressive) at 68.5%. Naturally, this first release is not perfect but we do see consumers re-engaging with the product once the differences are understood from the previous manual systems that operated in Centres. We continue to work with Ms. Diane Gartshore and her team with operational ‘tweaks’ to the system.
Taptix Units - Various pieces of product enhancements ranging from Single Ply to Promotional Vouchers are being introduced at this moment. The OLG and Diamond Game (Canada) are working with the Centres to ensure this is completed in a timely fashion and the Centre Manager is aware of the opportunities these changes can bring. There are further upgrades in the pipeline that will make the product more engaging and appealing to our consumers.
Taptix Units Measurement - It has been agreed that we will have a clearly defined Measurement Criteria for both the increase in Taptix Units and the re-positioning of low performing units across the whole Taptix estate. This has been worked through with a joint team from the OLG and CGAO and compromises have been given on both sides.
Policies - Recently, Mr. Michael McLaughlin & Ms. Joan Martin reached out to our Internal (CGAO) Policies & Procedures working group to go through proposed changes to the P&P’s Manual. This open dialogue between the OLG & CGAO brings tremendous benefit in ensuring that P&P’s are practical and workable at the Centre level.
Prizeboard - As we have been mentioning for some time now, we need to engage in a formal process of re-balancing or re-aligning our approach to prizeboards. The objective is to maximize ‘margin’ or net-profit for all stakeholders. Naturally this needs to be completed in a careful and well thought out fashion in order that we retain consumer confidence. We will start this process shortly with Ms. Diane Gartshore.
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 and real results for numerous communities in this province.