Twenty local charities are scrambling to find alternatives.
In the department of unintended consequences, the Fort Frances (Ontario) Times reports (Duane Hicks) that the local bingo hall will shut on December 31, leaving in the lurch a number of local charities that had relied on the proceeds, not to mention the twelve employees of the facility.
The reason is the decline in attendance after Ontario introduced a province-wide smoking ban on May 31 of this year. The hall tried to provide more smoking breaks so patrons could go outside and smoke, but attendance fell off anyway. (It may have something to do with the location: Fort Frances is the sister city of International Fall, Minnesota and outside smoking breaks might not be all that attractive in the winter months.)
Local charities are considering starting their own bingos, but the bigger questions remain: can there be Bingo without smoking? Can there be charities without Bingo?