1239 – Revitalization of Charitable (Bingo) Gaming
As we move forward into 2015, the Revitalization of Charitable (Bingo) Gaming keeps rolling forward, even if it is slowly rolling forward. Without question, this movement is a positive thing but the real challenge has been twofold; a) Awareness – the lack of marketplace awareness of the Revitalization Initiative, which is not assisting the initiative in reaching lapsed and potential new guests and b) Product & Product Refresh – the placement of new products, combined with the refresh of product, to ensure we maintain an engaging product portfolio within the Gaming (Bingo) Centres. Both the CGAO & OCGA are working with the OLG’s c-Gaming Team to see how we can deliver on these challenges based on the resources at hand. There is no easy solution but through working together in partnership,our combined efforts have a greater chance of success. Other interesting developments in c-Gaming are listed below for your information:
Superior Shore Gaming Centre (Thunder Bay) - On the 29th January 2015, this Centre completed the final stage of its conversion process. Being in Thunder Bay on that day, you really sensed an air of excitement and opportunity within the Management & Staff who wished to ensure their guests are treated to a positive and social experience. In the immediate future, the Centre is looking to heighten its hospitality offering and is currently applying for a liquor license. Within the Taptix Lounge there is seating for 100 guests to enjoy a different type of experience than the traditional ‘Just Bingo’, which is rather exciting and I will watch with interest how this develops. I do wish to acknowledge Ms. Iris McCoy-Slongo and Team Thunder Bay on completing the conversion process and wish them all every success as they now forge a new path under this initiative.
Bingo Country (Sarnia) - During the course of January, the Bingo Country Team had successfully achieved municipal approval to begin the conversion process. This Centre is operated through the Stuart Group of Companies and if Jackpot City (St. Thomas) is a guide, the Sarnia Centre has the potential to be very exciting indeed. There has been no formal date given for conversion but it is highly likely that this will convert during 2015.
Kennedy Bingo Centre (Scarborough) - In January, Kennedy Bingo Centre (Scarborough) received approval at their OMB hearing and is now in a position to begin discussions on a potential conversion process. This is the sister Centre to Rama Gaming in Mississauga and it will be interesting to see how this Centre will unfold in the coming months.
Turbo Challenge (Rollout) - The rollout of Turbo Challenge enters the final phase. We need to begin the process of ‘Operationalizing’ this opportunity. It is delivering a 68% prize payout and thus generating margin and has tremendous opportunity to be an engaging intermission game within our Centres. I am extremely interested in seeing how our various members set about leveraging this within their current portfolio/structure and also how we start engaging the guests to return to the game.
Industry Engagement - There has been an agreed ‘Committee Structure’ set out by both the OLG & CGAO. We have accepted this concept proposed by the OLG Team as we have been informed it will drive decisions & accountability into the initiative, which has been needed. We, the CGAO, will select our delegates for these committees at our next General Meeting. It is important, if you wish to be engaged in these committees, that you need to be there to vote on your preferred candidate to represent the CGAO.
Awareness & Market Placement - I am often asked when there will be a Provincial Campaign to build greater awareness of the Revitalization of Charitable (Bingo) Gaming. We have long held the view that this is the responsibility of the OLG, while the Commercial Operators deal with the ongoing marketing/promotional elements of the initiative. This lack of broader awareness does limit our ability to reach new potential guests/consumers. It remains a challenge and we need to stay focused and continue to work in a constructive fashion with the OLG to forge a path forward together.
Product Refresh (Taptixs) - Work continues in the Multi-Demo and Progressives on the current Taptix Units (Diamond Game). This is due by the Spring of 2015 and will offer a real opportunity to market these enhancements to our guests and ‘shake-up’ the Taptix Lounges. I acknowledge this is not a ‘Silver Bullet’ but it is another additional small feature that will add to the entertainment value of the Taptix experience.
New Product – Needed - I acknowledge that there have been consistent requests from the Commercial Operators for new product or refresh of products. Although efforts have been made, it has not been fast enough. We, the CGAO, understand the request and continue to advocate for a product portfolio for the Charitable Gaming Sector.