There have been two major Bingo-related incidents already this month. The first stems from the owner of Delta Bingo in Oakville, Ontario. Cam Johnstone wrote a letter to the local newspaper because he wanted to clarify the outcome of city council proceedings to modernize Bingo, the key to saving it in Oakville. The second incident didn’t last months like the Bingo discussion, and it took just a few seconds. The Apollo Bingo and Social Club near Hollywood Park, Barrow in England, was hit by a car. The accident was blamed on a race between two cars.
Johnstone began his letter with a quote from a city councillor, who was on the defense about Johnstone. The councillor claimed the city wouldn’t be bullied by Johnstone into forming public policy. He isn’t making threats, Johnstone wrote. Delta Bingo must close, he said. He had told the council that the modernization of Bingo Halls was needed in order for Bingo to flourish in Oakville. But that was 18 months ago. And, each time the council discusses modernization, the issue is tabled because of a glitch the council dutifully identifies.
The latest glitch is whether Johnstone, the Ontario Gaming Commission and other Bingo operators will bring in slot machines as part of the modernization. The gaming commission denies slot machines are on the horizon. Johnstone does, too. His idea of modernization is e-Bingo. The game will earn even more money for local charities, he said. As Johnstone wrote the letter, he wrote for the 34 charities his hall supports, his 40 employees and the thousands of Bingo enthusiasts that regularly visit Delta Bingo. The charities were in with Johnstone from the beginning of the discussion. They testified to the council on behalf of modernization. Johnstone wrote the closing will be detrimental to everyone involved. Again, he added he is not making threats. The discussion has gone on too long with no progress toward e-Bingo, he wrote.
In August of 2011, the council approved e-Bingo. In the same meeting, Johnstone said Delta Bingo was losing $300,000 per month, and would probably have to close if the council didn’t approve e-Bingo. At that time, charities were raising a comfortable $750,000 per year. In the closing of the letter, Johnstone dropped the responsibility into the city’s lap. He wrote when one of Oakville’s charities close because enough money couldn’t be raised to keep it open, folks can direct their questions to the sluggish city council.
The second incident rocked the Apollo Bingo Hall and brought down a brick column. A Citroen Saxo collided with the outer wall of the building. It is unknown if the Bingo Hall and Social Club were open for business. It happened approximately 5:10 p.m., at the Hindpool Road location in Barrow. The driver was 19 years old and from Barrow. He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and released. Police are looking for information about another vehicle that may have been involved.
It is described as a white, Vauxhall Corsa and both cars may have been racing, police said. They are looking for the driver, however, anyone with information should immediately contact the police. One online comment about the accident stated the driver of the Corsa stopped to help the 19-year-old man and stayed with him until the ambulance and police arrived. According to the comment, the driver also helped the man out of his vehicle before calling for help.