When many of us think of gambling, we think of large Vegas casinos or smoky poker games in a basement. We seldom think of Bingo or our weekly lottery ticket as gambling, but it is. Known as “soft gambling”, bingo, lottery tickets, scratch and wins and charity fundraisers that boast extravagant prizes are all forms of gambling. Recent reports suggest that the popularity of soft gambling is on the rise, aided in part by the ease of the Internet and the lure of winning big.
The promise of living care-free is what attracts many to gambling, and the same can be said of soft gambling. However, the latter is usually associated with a good cause, meaning that not only does the winner win, the charity or organization sponsoring the event wins as well.
“Bingo revenue and instant ticket sales have allowed the Elks Club to award college scholarships and give away Christmas baskets,” writes the Ohio based, Athens News site. “There were seven $1,000 scholarships handed out last year and baskets for 99 families.”
In Canada, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) runs the province’s casinos and lottery gaming terminals and selling points. As a proud Canadian business partner, the OLG has invested over $1.8 billion dollars into various sectors in Ontario, including: $1.6 billion dollars to the province’s hospitals, $120 million to the Ontario Trillium Foundation to distribute to local and provincial charities and $10 million to support amateur athletes through the Quest for Gold program.
This money is directly generated from traditional casinos, racetracks, gaming terminals, lotteries and scratch tickets. Bingo and charities are also very popular in Ontario. Each year, Toronto’s leading medical centers host lotteries in an effort to raise funds for research and equipment.
Bingo also happens to be popular in Canada’s most populous province and the rest of the country. The game, which is taught to elementary school students, is so popular among Canucks that the growing online Bingo industry is banking on Canadians to help draw traffic to their sites. Canada is also home to the world’s largest online bingo site, Intertain, which merged with Pokerstars.net last year.
The record setting merger allowed Interntain CEO John FitzGerald, “to buy several slots and bingo websites from United Kingdom-based Gamesys Ltd,” writes the Financial Post.
Gambler and blogger, Craig Simpson (who also goes by Lord Morpheous), believes gambling gets a bad rap. “People have all these negative ideas of gambling, when in reality their grandmother’s Saturday evening bingo is just as much gambling as visiting the local casino,” commented Craig Simpson. “Gambling is one of the oldest pastimes on earth, it isn’t going anywhere.”
True, gambling can add millions of dollars to city and municipality coffers, as well as aid charities and help spur research and innovation. “We need to stop fighting gambling and embrace it,” added Craig Simpson.
The growth of the online gambling community offers exciting opportunities for investors to get in on the ground level and reap the rewards of their investment. That is definitely a smart bet.