Documenting the Decline of the Bingo Hall

Documenting the Decline of the Bingo Hall
From thriving social clubs to piles of rubble.

abandoned bingo
(Image credit: Forsaken Fotos via Flickr)

The rough-hewn simplicity and rustic charm of traditional land-based bingo halls have captivated the imagination of thousands of people throughout the decades. Indeed, brick-and-mortar bingo halls are teeming with vibrant characters and interesting personalities that bring life to a time-honored establishment. So it’s not too surprising to learn that a few talented photographers have devoted their time and energies to document the humanity inside these old-school bingo halls. Washington resident Andrew Miksys was exposed to bingo at an early age. His father published the daily Bingo Today newspaper, which Miksys then delivered to bingo halls and convenience stores across Seattle. Miksys eventually toured America’s bingo halls to present a respectful look into the communal spirit that’s part of a bingo hall’s character.

There’s even more proof that the time-honored game is a veritable treasure trove of expressive portraits. German photographer Michael Hess is a structural engineer by training and a self-taught photographer by choice. Currently residing in London, Hess lived near a bingo hall in Southampton in 2005 and always wondered what happened inside. One fateful game in that same bingo hall was all it took to motivate Hess to travel to almost 70 bingo halls in the UK for the next four years. The result was Bingo and Social Club, a good-natured and graciously rare peek into the enigmatic society of bingo halls.

However, bingo halls are believed to be not long for this world, with many different bingo halls now closing all over the world. The classic game has found its new home online, where various companies have begun to launch online bingo portals which are much more convenient and easy to play. The Virtue Fusion software that runs the games on Betfair Bingo also allow for a variety of themed games to be held simultaneously, and land-based bingo halls just cannot keep up. As such, many bingo halls have shut down, their doors closing as though to keep their memories nestled within.

While they’re no longer visited by the average bingo player, these abandoned bingo halls have made for some truly evocative images, inspiring wayward photographers with the stories they seem to tell. Web Urbanist has even come out with a collection of haunting photographs of abandoned bingo halls called “Punched Cards”. The selection of photos has everything from dilapidated signage to the remains of old bingo cards and the remains of old structures that have now been reduced to rubble, and they make one think about all the history and memories that have been made in these places. Where people once crowded and fought to shout, “BINGO!”, there lies nothing but shambles and old signs. But often, these are exactly what the urban photographer is looking for.

Historically Interesting Casinos in Canada

Canada does not have a long history of actual buildings being made as casinos. We do have gambling far back in our history. John Cabot (circa 1497) noticed the native Canadians used sticks and pebbles to play games of chance.

The Canadian Criminal Code banned every form of gambling in 1892.

However, during  the days of the Klondike Gold Rush (1897 – 1899) Faro was a popular game of chance. By 1900 charities were holding bingo games and raffles. Next came horse racing and by 1925 agricultural fairs and exhibitions were permitted to hold gambling events.

Lotteries began in Canada in 1969. The government amended the Criminal Code to allow themselves to fund special projects from money made through lotteries. In 1974 the Olympics in Montreal were funded with lottery money.

In modern days most provinces have casinos.

Some are still government run, it depends on the province. Canadian casinos can be partially owned by private enterprise, government and the native Canadians who have special rights set out by the government. If you look for casinos in Canada you may find more online casinos than brick and mortar or land-based casinos. Like working from home you don’t actually have to get dressed up (or dressed at all) to play when your casino is online: www.gamingclub.com/nz/online-pokies

history of gambling in Canada

I grew up in the Toronto area where my family and I would attend the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) each summer at least once. My sister’s favourite part of the CNE were the games. Although the midway games had to gear down for children to play, there was a casino for the adults too. I never saw the inside of it. Each year it would be packed up again and disappear until the next summer.

Now I live near the Barrie casino, the Georgian Downs. I see the horse and buggy races now and then. In season you can drive right by on the main highway through Barrie and pass close enough to Georgian Downs to see the horses racing, warming up or exercising.

My plan was to write about historical casinos in Canada but once I started looking for them I found there aren’t any which are very old.

The first commercial casino opened in 1993, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The second to open and credited as the largest casino is in Montreal. It’s called The Montreal Casino and is located in Montreal, Quebec.  Open 24 hours a day, to those who are 18 years of age or older,  since October, 1993.

Indoor Playground for Sale (Ontario)

indoor playground Have you always wanted to run or own an indoor playground, games for kids with prizes and birthday parties every week? If you want it, you can buy it from my sister. Would help if you are somewhat local to Newmarket, Ontario.

She has been the sole owner/ proprietor for about 11 years. Opened a second location in Barrie, laser tag, mini golf and likely something else I’m forgetting. A Mom with 4 kids ranging in age from 18 to 4 herself she has done a lot. Time to focus her energies and she wants more time to play some tennis too.

If you happen to be up for it – take a look at the listing and see the photos. You might even talk to the real estate agent and make an offer.

How was that for a sales pitch?

As We Become the Older Generation…

If you are 30, or older, you might think this is hilarious!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning…. Uphill…. Barefoot… BOTH ways…yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they’ve got it!

But now that I’m over the ripe old age of thirty, I can’t help but look around and notice the youth of today. You’ve got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don’t know how good you’ve got it!

1) I mean, when I was a kid we didn’t have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

2) There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter – with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

3) Child Protective Services didn’t care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe!

4) There were no MP3’s or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!

5) Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We’d play our favorite tape and “eject” it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that’s how we rolled, Baby! Dig?

6) We didn’t have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that’s it!

7) There weren’t any freakin’ cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn’t make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your “friends”. OH MY GOSH !!! Think of the horror… not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there’s TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You kids have no idea how annoying you are.

8) And we didn’t have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent…. you just didn’t know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

9) We didn’t have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like ‘Space Invaders’ and ‘Asteroids’… Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen.. Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

10) You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh, no, what’s the world coming to?!?!

11) There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I’m saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!

12) And we didn’t have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!

13) And our parents told us to stay outside and play… all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside… you were doing chores!

And car seats – oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the “safety arm” across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling “shot gun” in the first place!

See! That’s exactly what I’m talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You’re spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn’t have lasted five minutes back in 1970 or any time before!

Regards,

The Over 30 Crowd

via (34) If you are 30, or….

Facebook Horoscope for Today

Laura,
You are thinking about the deep mysteries of life, the world, and everything. You may be turning to the older members of your family or community for advice and insight, because you are feeling confused about your personal, social or cultural values.

Even the Facebook application knows I am wandering through the deep, thick woods of my own brain these days. I have become entangled in Facebook games, far too many of them and far too many hours spent there. Although, half of the time spent is just waiting for the games to load or move from one screen to the next (which is also loading in the technical sense).

This is what I wrote in my Facebook status just now:

It’s a bit gross how much of these Facebook games I am playing lately. I used to see real stuff on my profile here. Now it is all game spam. I need a change. I need a break. I need a lot of things and the only one who can do anything about it is me.

Yet, I will be there tomorrow, feeding the llamas, picking the cherries, scaring the bear, etc. I need a new obsession.

Facebook | FaceBook Women Gamers SocialPlus

Facebook | FaceBook Women Gamers SocialPlus: “Description:
A group for all women who play games on FaceBook. Most of the games require you to invite others to your guild/ crew/ alliance. I’d rather invite other women players. So here is the group for women who like to do the same.

Post to the forum with the games you usually play on FaceBook and others can make you a friend and join your groups. If you invite someone from this group make sure you add a note that you came from this group and include which games you play.”