Bingo is Dying in Western New York
According to figures released by the New York State Gaming Commission, income from bingo has fallen by 75% in Erie and Niagara counties throughout the past 15 years.
So, what’s going on?
The biggest reason the income has reduced so drastically is the reduced number of outlets offering the game. In the same 15-year period, outlets offering bingo games have reduced by 80%.
At the beginning of the year, Tonawandas Post 264, American Legion, in the city of Tonawanda, shut up shop after nearly 80-years of operation due to declining attendances, and other offline bingo operators have declared revenues have fallen by as much as 20% in the state.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the all-important ‘why?’ The first idea is the smoking ban has driven bingo’s customers away from the halls, and the second is the rise in popularity of the local casinos such as Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, where punters go in the belief they are more likely to win.
Residents of Erie and Niagara counties spent nearly $9m on bingo games, at 72 sites throughout 2012; and statewide more than $219m was wagered in rooms where people wolf whistled each time a caller shouted: ‘legs eleven!”
The most affected, and often understated, are the elderly, who rely on bingo as a form of entertainment that they not only enjoy, but for some, it’s their only outlet from a mundane life stuck within the four walls of their home.
Whereas it’s not a pretty picture if you want to play bingo in Western New York, it’s a totally different story online where bingo is on the rise in a big way. Perhaps, when online gambling laws change, bingo players will have more options in the US?