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Superior Shores looks to bring back bingo

THUNDER BAY – Games have been back on at the Superior Shores Gambling Association for about a month, with a notable exception: the organization’s popular bingo nights remain on hold due to COVID-19 capacity limits.

It’s a situation General Manager Joe Brizard says they’re working to change, but that process could take several weeks. They may turn to car-park bingo to make the relaunch feasible, Brizard said, hosting games in their on-site parking lot.

Mountain Bingo, on Fort William First Nation, held its first parking lot bingo game earlier this week. Superior Shores is still looking at the details of such an arrangement, with a possible launch in September.

In the meantime, most games are back online at the group’s Memorial Avenue location. Traffic has been brisk, Brizard reported, with an increase in new players joining regulars, which he puts down to the closure of other local gambling halls.

Demand is high enough the association has added six new machines, with another six coming this fall.

COVID-19 precautions include temperature checks, capacity limits, spacing between machines, barriers throughout the building, and sanitizing machines after each use. Players also sign in before entering to aid with potential contact tracing.

Managing the changes as they reopen has sometimes been a demanding process, but Brizard said staff are happy to be back and operations have run relatively smoothly.

“It was a learn-as-you-go type of thing,” he said. “We did some training prior to reopening and we had to submit a health and safety plan to the AGCO. We’ve had a few little hiccups along the way, but overall [it’s] been really good.”

Proceeds from gaming at Superior Shores support over 70 local charities.

Most games have returned at Superior Shores Gaming Association, but group may turn to parking lot bingo due to indoor capacity limits