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'It's really disappointing': Winnipeg community centre stopping bingo nights

The entrance to the Varsity View Community Centre in Charleswood. (March 30, 2023. Source: Scott Andersson/CTV News) The entrance to the Varsity View Community Centre in Charleswood. (March 30, 2023. Source: Scott Andersson/CTV News)

Some bingo lovers in the city are voicing their displeasure about a community centre halting bingo operations.

Bingo players who attend Varsity View Community Centre have been informed that the centre will no longer be hosting bingo nights, which have been scheduled on Sundays and Tuesdays.

Lisa Briggs said she and her family have been involved in the bingos for 50-plus years.

She said she was shocked when she heard the news.

"We heard that bingo would continue until (April) 11, but we just heard yesterday, I think it was, that no, in fact, they're suspending bingo playing at the community club, which means they don't want workers in, or the manager in," said Briggs.

Tanis Poturica has also enjoyed attending bingos at the community centre over the years and said it's a real loss.

"It was a reaction of disbelief, actually, because we know the bingo license had been renewed in November for another three years by Western Canada Lotteries," said Poturica.

"I just think it's really disappointing, not just for me…I think it was a really social outing for people in a quiet, safe neighbourhood."

Both Briggs and Poturica said it wasn't just people in the neighbourhood who came to the community centre, but people from all over the city.

"If you want to play bingo, you're going to have to find a different place to go and play," said Briggs.

Poturica added she and others are going to find another community-based bingo night, noting many that attended didn't want to go to the casinos.

In an email to CTV News, the president of the community centre, Sean Moore, said bingo was losing money and it wasn't financially viable anymore.

"The Bingo manager has known for years that this program was of concern and that the board was willing to work to make it work, but not indefinitely. We conducted surveys, tried different table set ups and adjusted the payouts but nothing kept it solvent," said Moore.

He added the community centre also had to turn away other programs and events over concerns about damaging bingo equipment.

"Unfortunately, it is not sustainable and the volunteer board unanimously voted to end it. We tried but we can't continually subsidize a gambling event that loses money."

While he said the board regrets and is saddened by ending the program and how it impacts people in the community, the community centre will have a lot more programming for people of all ages.

Briggs feels the board should have looked at other options first, like reducing bingo to just one night a week, so that the community wasn't losing the event.

"Have something in the community for the seniors to look forward to because it is community-based," said Briggs.

"I really think it served people well, that went there anyway," said Poturica. "I just think it's really sad for the community to lose another bingo." Top Stories

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