Wednesday evening Bingo at the fairgrounds in Carp will now prohibit children from playing Bingo or even helping their parents mark cells with a dauber. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says Gambling is for ‘Adults-Only’.
No Bingo for Kids!
Despite the fact that families have come to the Carp fairgrounds on Wednesday evenings to socialize, enjoy the weather and play a bit of Bingo for fifty-five years it will be no more. Carp will still hold the traditional Bingo event each Wednesday but now the children will be banned from participation. The staff at Carp Fairgrounds will adhere to the regulation imposed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, albeit against their wishes.
Family Oriented Tradition – Harmless
It started back in the 1960’s at the fairgrounds in Carp. Families would gather the kids and travel out to the fairgrounds to enjoy the warm weather, the company of friends, and to play Bingo. A typical scene on a warm summer evening would show blankets dispersed around the grounds, parents with Bingo cards and daubers in hand while kids frolicked and ran with their friends. This is a long-time tradition for residents in Carp, says fair manager Joyce Trafford, a very positive thing for the community. The kids would help their parents with the dauber and sometimes even play a game of Bingo on their own.
Trafford explained that the participation of the children was not unlike school games of Bingo in which the teacher rewards the kids with Gummi Bears. Trafford is a bit concerned that this new ban could deter family participation that would lead to Carp Bingo going to the wayside. Furthermore, she believes that kids need to play Bingo so that the custom sticks with the kids and in turn they will bring their kids and keep the community tradition alive. Trafford further asserts that for the kids, the money aspect of the Bingo game is insignificant and it causes no harm. This family oriented community event has been an outstanding fundraiser for the fairgrounds, as well.
Kids Can’t Gamble – Not Even with Bingo
Trafford promised that the Carp Agricultural Society Fair Board will abide by the rules and will soon erect signs on the fairground premises that notify families that Bingo is no longer allowed – for children. The sudden change in this tradition occurred by chance when a story appeared in an Ottawa daily newspaper about the event and the entire family participation. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario spokesperson Lisa Murray said simply “kids can’t gamble”. In response to Trafford’s analogy to classroom Bingo, Murray states the in school, there’s no money involved, and that is the difference. The Gaming Commission informed the city of Ottawa, who issues the license that they must warn the fairgrounds about the stipulation barring children from Bingo.
The fairground was granted a license for a one year period, and Trafford is confident that the pies sold at the event will still bring in money. They sell sixty pies every week, and Trafford hopes that the Butterscotch and Cream pies will be enough to draw in the 275 cars that roll into the grounds on Bingo night. She explained that it’s not like the Bingo is making them rich, as they bring in about $1,300 over four Wednesday events. The city gets a cut at three percent, so it’s not about the money as much as the social aspect of it. According to Trafford, Bingo is an overall ‘good fundraiser’ for the Carp Fair, and it’s a shame that the Gaming Commission is putting the kibosh on such a traditional and harmless event.