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Alberta Charities Struggle Without In-Person Gambling

Alberta charitable gaming has been put on pause ever since mid-March and this hiatus is expected to inevitably result in great loss for the charity organizations relying on it. Brenda Thiruchelvam of the Edmonton Columbian Choirs, recently pointed out that the lockdown is projected to deal a blow to the non-profit organizations across Alberta.

There are about 20,000n charitable organizations relying on gaming operation on a daily basis, as this is the way they are able to support their projects and continue operation. Over the course of 2018, they managed to amass some CA$347 million with the help of the gaming operation happening regularly. Now those charitable organizations are concerned about the lack of in-person gaming in Alberta.

Lockdown Impact

Ever since mid-March, charitable gaming events at casino venues and bingo halls have been put on hold, as physical distancing is the recommended practice across the Canadian provinces. This means that the otherwise available gambling revenue flow seized and various non-profit organizations quickly experienced the impact of this lockdown. Organizations rely on various events and products.

Those include charitable events hosted by Alberta’s casino venues, as well as special events at bingo halls. Their operation is also supported by various raffles and pull tickets players are fond of. Over the past couple of months, such support has been impossible to receive and the organizations recently expressed their worries. Ms. Thiruchelvam made it clear that the Edmonton Columbian Choirs relies on gambling revenue for its regular work.

In 2018, the four choir ensembles managed to amass some CA$105,000 with the help of gambling events of various nature. With the help of this sum, some of the membership fees were no longer needed and individuals that cannot afford to pay them had the chance to continue attending the regular congregations. Now the situation has changed and other resources might have to be found.

Upcoming Months

Regular bingo events overseen by the Edmonton Columbian Choirs take place across the months and they usually reach 14 events per year. Locals know the schedule and look forward to the upcoming exciting gaming congregation, as it gives them the opportunity to meet like-minded people and socialize, while also having the chance to win a cash prize. The month of July was also supposed to bring a regular bingo event.

However, for the time being, that would be impossible, as casino locations have not yet launched operations and in-person gambling. Bruce MacDonald, CEO of Imagine Canada, also pointed out that the unprecedented situation we are in right now directly affects the normal work of charitable organizations, as gambling is one of their main support sources. Imagine Canada unveiled an online survey showing staggering results.

Some 70 percent of the charity organizations stated that they have witnessed a slump in their revenue over only a couple of weeks of social distancing and lockdown. The summer months of 2020 are projected to see the gradual reopening of casino venues and gambling halls across Alberta, with the required safety measures implemented.