Is This 1983? Canadian Town Brings Back Televised Bingo


If you could travel back to the 1980s and got to ask Bingo players what they thought the future of Bingo looked like, someone would probably come up with Television Bingo. After all, it was the 1980s that people conjured up ideas of videophones. Yes, we have things like Skype and FaceTime today. But back then, people would imagine a video screen attached to a traditional looking telephone as the future of communications.

So something like Television Bingo would be a great guess. Instead of having to go to a Bingo hall, you’d simply turn on your TV and play Bingo with your pre-bought bingo cards in hand. Completing a card would net you a win.

Remember, this is before the Internet – and well before online Bingo – so this totally seems logical. It doesn’t, however, make much sense today. But that isn’t stopping one Canadian town from bringing Bingo to the small screen.

Just north of Toronto in a town called Orillia, the Rotary Club of Orillia is running televised Bingo games with the local cable TV provider, Rogers Television. For $1, you can purchase Bingo cards around town. With your Bingo cards in hand, simply sit down to the weekly show and start playing.

When you’ve got a Bingo, you simply call the toll-free number and let them know. There are for ways to win. Any Line for Game 1 gets you $100. Letter X for Game 2 gets you $200. Around the World for Game 3 gets you $300. And a Full Card for Game 4 gets you $2,500.

To be fair, this type of Bingo is for fundraising, and most online Bingo is for profit. Still, I get a kick out of the thought of people tuning in to a TV show to play Bingo instead of hopping online.

There is a modern-day component to all this, though. You don’t need to watch TV to play. If you don’t subscribe, you can watch the live feed on the Rogers TV website. Modern, right?

While this whole TV thing seems a bit archaic, organizers may be on to something. In neighboring Midland, they’re raking in about $100,000 a year through Televised Bingo. That’s big money for the community, so maybe this is a concept we’ll see happening more often than not elsewhere in North America and around the world.