Bingo seeks boost with simulcast of jackpots
Attendance at bingo, which used to be the foundation of many organizations’ fundraising, is declining, according to supporters. Drawing more people to events will help, they told the Senate Ways and Means Committee Tuesday.
The coverall games are rolled over when no one wins within the set number of draws and jackpots can be as high as $85,000, said lobbyist Michael McLaughlin, who represents Community Bingo Center of Manchester.
Under the plan proposed by Sen. Andy Hosmer, D-Laconia, the progressive coverall games would be simulcast from the large bingo halls in Manchester, Nashua and Portsmouth to those in smaller communities.
Jan DiMarzio, a bingo hall manager for Community Bingo Center, said the coverall games bring people to the bingo halls, noting when a recent jackpot topped $80,000, there were 200 to 300 people when the coverall game was held, but once the jackpot was won, only about 50 people were there.
Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission Executive Director Paul Kelley said about $40 million to $50 million is wagered every year in state bingo halls, while bingo and Lucky 7s generate about $7 million for charities.
Wendy Lane, from the Wolverine Youth Football Association in Derry, also supported simulcast, noting her organization serves between 100 and 150 middle school students. She said the number of people going to bingo has declining significantly.