Sunday, July 06, 2008

Bingo parlors yearn for days B-4 casinos - The Denver Post

Bingo parlors yearn for days B-4 casinos - The Denver Post:
"Robert King remembers the bingo heyday in the early 1990s when individual Colorado nonprofits generated $100,000 annually holding no more than three sessions per week.
'You couldn't beat it for fundraising,' said King, president of the Sons of Norway Trollheim Lodge, a Lakewood nonprofit focused on promoting and preserving Norway's heritage.
Players wagered more than $220 million in the state annually on bingo, pickle pull-tabs and raffles back then. Last year, that figure was roughly $124 million.
Colorado's bingo industry began its downward spiral after commercial casinos opened in the state in 1991.
The slide hasn't slowed. In 2004, there were 44 bingo parlors. There are 28 now.
Under state law, only nonprofits are
Lou Haack had cancer and needed something to distract her from the pain. She found bingo to be the perfect fit. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)allowed to operate bingo, renting space from parlor owners. The number of nonprofits running games fell 35 percent from 2004 to 2007. Attendance dropped 33 percent during the same timeframe.
'Bingo continues to decline, there is no doubt about that,' said Corky Kyle, executive vice president of the Colorado Charitable Bingo Association, which represents several parlors in the state. 'The reason for the decline is because (bingo) has not kept up with the changing times.'
Kyle said he wants to reinvent the pastime, pointing to two state provisions he believes are contributing to the drop in the number of bingo players, parlors and operators.
First, nonprofits have to be in business for five years before they qualify to hold a bingo session. Second, they must use volunteers and can't pay workers to run the sessions."
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