BingoLingo, an online bingo portal specializing in bingo news and information, conducted a study of bingo in Canada that yielded some surprising results. BingoLingo reported that Winnipeg, in central Canada, has more bingo games per capita than major urban centers such as Toronto.
Bingo is a wildly popular game in both the United States and the United Kingdom. In Canada, bingo is almost as popular with Canadians as it is with their British counterparts. From the largest urban areas to the remote north provinces, bingo players congregate in their local bingo halls for a night of fun and, hopefully, profit.
Winnipeg, in Manitoba, easily outperforms Toronto when it comes to bingo halls per capita. In Toronto the ratio of bingo halls to the total population works out to 1 bingo hall per 131,000 residents while Winnipeg has one bingo hall for every 19,000 residents. Obviously the citizens of Winnipeg are fond of bingo. While smoking bans have resulted in a drastic drop in attendance throughout North America, it does not seem to have had such a profound effect in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg is located on the plains in central Canada and is subject to extremes of cold and heat. It is possible that Winnipeg’s long winters account, in part, for the popularity of bingo. No natural barriers stand between Winnipeg and the Arctic and winters are notoriously cold and long. Bingo provides the residents of Winnipeg a chance to get out and socialize during the long winters and avoid “cabin fever.”
Winnipeg is home to a large Roman and Ukrainian Catholic population and the Catholic Church has used bingo as a fundraising tool for decades. According to figures from the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, almost one third of the populations of Winnipeg are Ukrainian Catholics. Since the 1930’s, bingo has been a tradition in parishes all over North America funding a variety of church activities and programs.
Veterans’ organizations have also found bingo a useful fundraising tool. According to the president of the National Association of Fundraising Ticket Manufacturers: “Veterans organizations service clubs, organized charities, volunteer fire departments and schools are the predominant beneficiaries of low-stakes gaming, as they have been for decades.” Programs funded by bingo include help for homeless veterans, care of older veterans, and a wide variety of charitable projects.
The results of the study were surprising. Montreal, Quebec, and Toronto were all outperformed by Winnipeg when it came to bingo halls per capita. No matter what the reasons for the immense popularity of bingo in Winnipeg, BingoLingo is pleased to name Winnipeg the “Bingo capital of Canada.”