The pandemic put a damper on almost every event everywhere this year, including the weekly Bingo nights put on by our Rotary communities.
But then BINGO!!
Kootenay Rotarians took the popular Bingo night online and it has caught fire in recent months.
The Rotary Community Online Bingo was first started by the Golden Rotary Club back in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rossland Rotary joined up in November and the Trail and Waneta Sunshine Rotary Clubs climbed on board in December. With the addition of Fernie Rotary last week, all 16 Kootenay Rotary Clubs in the District now participate.
“There are quite a few groups with their families throughout B.C., they get together and open up a zoom call, they got the Bingo going, they’re participating,” said Rossland Rotary president Fiona Martin. “That’s really why Golden Rotary started it was for that connection. When we can’t travel, we can still connect electronically over a game, and have our drinks and appetizers in our homes and play a Bingo game together.”
More than 3,000 cards worth over $30,000 were sold by noon Friday (Mar. 26) for the most recent Bingo night.
Kootenay Rotarians award half the proceeds in prize money to online winners, and after administration fees, will share the remainder amongst the communities.
It’s been so popular, that the Rotary clubs have the difficult task of sharing the wealth.
“We have this Bingo money that we are going to have to spend, so we will be looking at other projects, and we do have a committee that will be looking at how to disperse those funds,” said Martin.
A recent Feb. 26 Bingo night was worth over $35,000 or a new car.
“It was insane,” said Martin. “Just for that progressive game they gave away $35,000, and it was a gal from Silverton who won. I think they ran a second chance and it went for $22,000.”
The game has become so popular, the small Golden Rotary is passing it off, so that two Castlegar Rotary Clubs will now pull the Bingo balls from the BC Gaming commission’s approved air machine, and Rossland Rotary will look to assist in any way they can.
“We expect as they get use to it and figure it out, by the end of April our local clubs will be able to help them out with the calling and some of the tasks that are involved in it.”
All the participating Rotary Club’s receive a percentage based on how many cards are sold in their respective communities.
The three Rotary clubs in Greater Trail are working together and will distribute the funds raised to non-profits, youth organizations, and local projects.
So when purchasing a card, select Rossland-Trail-Waneta Rotary to support your local clubs and the significant work they do in our communities.
“We (Rossland) decided instead of dispersing our money to the Waneta and Trail clubs, we’re just going to pick the Greater Trail area, and we’re going to work together as the three clubs and share the money equally,” added Martin. “Yet another way we’re learning to work together and make the most of the pandemic.”
Regular game Bingo cards are $10 each and are good for all five and possibly six games. If the pot is over $20,000 there will be a sixth game added.
Cards go on sale every Sunday and can be paid for by E-transfers. Cutoff for card sales is noon pacific time on Fridays. The card is only good for the game day it is purchased.
Bingo is live-streamed every Friday starting at 5 p.m. Bingo games start at 5:30 p.m.
Visit golden-rotary.myshopify.com/ to purchase cards or go to your local Rotary Club’s Facebook page for more information.
The next Bingo night goes April 2.