Modernization of Canadian Charitable Gaming: Are Bingo Halls

Modernization of Canadian Charitable
Are Bingo Halls ‘Slots Parlours’ in Disguise?
March 27, 2015
AGRI Conference
Kevin Harrigan, PhD
Gambling Research Lab
University of Waterloo
In July 2010 the Government of Ontario gave OLG new
direction. OLG was asked to modernize through:
• An expansion of charitable gaming to allow
bingo halls to deliver electronic games
• A complete internet gaming platform …
• A comprehensive strategic review of the lottery
distribution network and land-based gaming
All … to include a commitment to socially
responsible gambling—particularly age restricted
access, privacy controls and maximum betting limits
for the internet.
New Charity Gaming
Operating Model
Role of OLG in New Model
• OLG will conduct and manage Bingo Halls through partnership with
the Ontario Charitable Gaming Association & Commercial Gaming
Association of Ontario (i.e. the operators)
• Bingo Halls upgraded and branded as Charitable Gaming Centres
• Previously OLG had minimal role in Bingo Halls
Role of Municipalities
• Will now award “permits” to charities. These permits will not be
“licenses” as previously granted under ss. 207(1)(b). Instead, they
will focus on eligibility of charities to receive gaming funds …
Role of Commercial Operators
• Will work directly with the OLG. Still managing day-to-day
operations (facility, games, finances, most advertising and
Ontario Charitable Gaming Association
… mandate … is to provide strong independent
and effective advocacy on behalf of charities
and non-profit organizations with respect to
charitable gaming.
Commercial Gaming Assoc. Ontario
• Who We Are
• … an Industry Association that primarily represents
the interests of Commercial Operators, Suppliers and
Manufacturers in the Charitable Gaming Sector…
• What is Our Strategy?
• Our strategy is … Engage, Partner and Deliver. Through
this we look to forge a vibrant and sustainable
commercial sector in Charitable Gaming.
• What do we do?
• We advocate on behalf of our membership…
Charitable Gaming Centres:
Revenue Model
25%(cost recovery)
2012 Only
Total Bingo Prize Payout %
Sessions per hall per day
Attendance per session
Wager per person per session
Payout per person per session
Loss per person per session
Hours: 8am-4:00am, 7 days/week
St Clair Promotional Video
100’s of POD terminals
49 TapTix machines
St. Clair
House Rules:
“Dead Beat Dads”
All winnings valued over $999.99 are subject to
a Family Responsibility Office (FRO) search.
Proper government issued identification is
required to claim the prize.
Charitable Gaming Centres:
My Observations
Responsible Gambling brochures are available to players.
Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline # prominently displayed.
No security in the parking.
No security at the door.
Minimum age 18 whereas it is 19 for slots facilities in Ontario.
No indication that players could self-exclude.
I did not see any alcohol for sale or being consumed.
The hours of operation varied by bingo hall and by day of the week.
Typically the first bingo was at approximately 10am and the last
bingo ended at approximately 10pm.
– St Clair is open much longer
• The vast majority of players were over 30 years old. Average age
probably 50+.
• The vast majority of players were female. Perhaps 80%.
My Observations con’t
Live bingo with a caller and paper cards
Players could also play live bingo on terminals
About 100 terminals per hall with Play on Demand (POD) games
Players play POD on the terminals at the same time as live bingo.
– Live bingo on paper
– Live bingo on the terminal
– POD games on the terminal
Must purchase paper cards at counter
Must purchase POD voucher at the same counter
Upon request, OLG provided fairly detailed odds for POD games
TapTix games introduced in December 2012
Let’s look at the games
Old Glory
Treasure Island Scratch
Berri Fruiti
eBingo Video
My Experience with Lucky Clover
• 10 Plays – 4 Cards per play
– 3 Wins
– 3 Losses
– 4 LDWs
Possible Wager
• Per Card
– 25 cents
– 50 cents
– 75 cents
– 1 dollar
• Number of cards
– 1, 2, 3, 4
• Minimun 25 cents
• Maximum 4 dollars
Crazy Letter L
Small Picture Frame
Large Diamond
Crazy Letter T
Letter X
Block of 9
Letter Y
Six Pack in Corner
Four Corners
Small Diamond
Stamp in Corner
One Line Any Way
Any 3 corners
Lucky Clover
Lucky Clover
“Average” Loss
• Payback is ~ 90%
• Assume $1 wager per play
• Loss is 10 cents every couple seconds.
– Let’s say every 3 seconds
20 plays per minute
Loss per minute: $2.00
Loss per hour: $120.00
Wagering $4/play loss per hour is $480.00
It Looks Like a Slot Machine but it’s Not
It simply displays the results of Break Open Tickets (BOTs)
Play Button
Voucher Printer
Bill Acceptor
Video - TapTix
• Animation of TapTix
TapTix Break Open Ticket Dispensers
• TapTix is an automatic break open ticket dispensing machine – it’s
not considered a slot machine
• It accepts paper money & displays how much you have in the
machine, just like a slot machine
• It issues a voucher (ticket in ticket out)
• The machine selects an internal break open ticket and scans the bar
code to determine what symbols to display on the screen
• It also displays the amount won (if any), but wins are displayed in
credits, not in currency
• Can play a game about every four seconds, like a slot machine
• The machine is not the game – the game is a BOT
• The screen is just a display to make showing the results of the BOTs
Dynamite Diamond
Estimating “average” Loss
• The Hold is ~ 8%
• Wager is $1
• Loss is 8 cents every 4 seconds. Let’s say every
6 seconds to be conservative
• 10 plays per minute
• Loss per minute: $0.80
• Loss per hour: $48.00
• Loss per evening (3 hours) $144.00
Wording Within Help on Taptix
• Over time, the more you risk, the more you
• This game involves no skill.
• There is nothing you can do to influence its
How Will This Impact the Public?
• An additional $1.3billion/year has to come from
somewhere • More gambling opportunities
• New gambling technologies
• New games
• New channels for distribution, including internet
• New venues
• Easier access
• Need for more awareness, education & research,
especially regarding new types of games that are
unknown to most players
Postscript re Live Bingo
Live Bingo:
Arrow International Bingo Card Permutations
• One strategy is to produce bingo cards that bring more players
close to a bingo. “Many of the bingo series such as Arrow's
'Player Preferred UniMax' have built-in features like this.”
• “… some card series are designed to significantly increase the
number of calls it takes on average to win a certain game,
which in turn allows games to offer larger jackpots without
increasing their average pay out.”
Live Bingo: Perfect Play
• Perfect Play
• Let’s say we create 3 cards (3-up)
• Randomly
1-15 under B on the three cards
16-30 under I on the three cards
31-45 under N on the three cards
46-60 under G on the three cards
61-75 under O on the three cards
• With every number called player dabs once
• A “smooth ride”
Manipulating the Ordinal
• Ordinal: # of called balls to win jackpot
• Example Game: Full card, ordinal 54
– Win $2500 if full card in 54 numbers or less
– Otherwise, win $25 for full card
– Tomorrow ordinal will be 53, & jackpot $2,600
• Bingo card manufacturer can (and do)
increase the average ordinal to win !
Contact Information
Professor Kevin Harrigan, PhD
Gambling Research Lab
University of Waterloo
[email protected]
Tel: 519-888-4567x36652
Cell: 519-500-8099