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Bingo shutdown irks seniors
Daubers have disappeared from Minoru Place Activity Centre following the cancellation of an unlicensed bingo game, ruffling feathers of some players.
The Minoru Seniors Society, which operates the centre, found attendance had dropped 83 per cent in the last five years, costing the society money instead of netting it a jackpot.
The last bingo numbers were scheduled to be called mid-summer, but the society shut the game down last week on advice from the province’s gaming authorities, as the centre didn’t hold a valid gaming licence.
City spokesperson Ted Townsend confirmed B.C.’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch forced the centre to shut the game down immediately after it learned the bingo game was unlicensed. He said the centre had previously been exempt, but gaming regulations had changed.
Townsend also noted the society performed a lengthy review and deemed bingo didn’t justify the time and space in the busy centre, given low participation rates and demand for other programming.
“We’re seeing significant shifts in demand in terms of the types of programming older adults are looking for, and we’re constantly trying to adjust our programming to address that, as well as working long term to build a new centre,” he said.
Construction is scheduled to begin later this year on a new—and larger—centre in Minoru Park.
Nadine Jones, 91, was among a group of bingo players hoping to change the society’s mind, until last week’s sudden cancellation.
“Age is a time of loss. We lose our acute eyesight, sharp hearing, our mobility and our friends. We haven’t a hell of a lot to look forward to except the inevitable, so bingo has meant more than just a game. It has been a happy thought, something to brighten our week,” she said in an e-mail.
Valerie Taylor, who played bingo with her mom at the centre, said as many as 50 seniors participated in the regular games.
“They have joined the centre for the most part to enjoy an affordable way to interact with like-minded seniors of their community. They are now being pushed out of a place that they have called home twice a week for many years.”