Top Stories of 2011: Bingo hall sold to Great Canadian

Chilliwack Bingo Association members voted to sell all their assets to Great Canadian Gaming Corporation for a cool $10 million in May.

It was a decision that would change the gaming landscape in Chilliwack forever.

Chilliwack Bingo Association members voted as a group to sell all their assets to Great Canadian Gaming Corporation for a cool $10 million in May.

The reason for the keen corporate interest likely had something to do with the fact that Chilliwack Bingo logged the highest bingo revenues in the province, with an astounding $11.1 million in 2009-10, whereas Vancouver’s Planet Bingo came in second highest.

The acquisition by Great Canadian Gaming, a publicly traded company, included the Chilliwack Bingo Hall on Knight Road, and the five-acre site on Olds Drive where the plan is to build a Community Gaming Centre  in 2012.

The sale also provides for trailing payments to be shared by local charity groups over the next 20 years from gaming centre revenues.

Millions of dollars from local bingo profits have supported a range of local groups over the past 25 years, and the sale of Chilliwack Bingo was viewed by many as a way to ensure sustainability of those charities into the future.

City council approved an expansion of the Chilliwack Bingo operation in 2009 into a community gaming centre, which would feature slot machines for the first time in Chilliwack.

Update: As a publicly traded company, Great Canadian Gaming will be officially declaring the start of construction, probably in a formal announcement in the new year, said Great Canadian vice-president Howard Blank.

“But there are no timelines ready yet,” he said.

At the time of the sale, Great Canadian owned 10 casinos, four racetracks and two community gaming centres in B.C., Ontario, Nova Scotia and Washington state.

Site preparation is now underway at the site on Olds Drive near the Chilliwack Airport.

The new facility will offer bingo, slots, entertainment, restaurant and lounge dining, community meeting space, and more. The old bingo hall will continue to operate until the new one is ready to open.

“We’re anticipating when the Chilliwack facility is completed that we will have some really neat amenities to offer because wherever we build, our roots are in the community.”

Being a good corporate citizen is part of their core culture, Blank said.

“We think the people of Chilliwack will be very pleased with not only what we build, but how we handle ourselves in the community.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Just Posted

Barn fire closes Prairie Central Road

Fire quickly brought under control

Kevin Wall hits ground running with Chilliwack Chiefs

With four goals in his first five junior A BCHL games, the New York native has had an instant impact

Strong demand for cannabis retail applications anticipated in Chilliwack

Chilliwack council approves new cannabis retail zone and will monitor how it works for a year

Another successful year for Chilliwack’s ‘We Got Your Back’ backpack program

Sponsored by local businesses, program stocks backpacks with school supplies for students in need

Chilliwack’s Luke Wismer to play in BCHL Top Prospects Game

Wismer and 36 other 2003 and 2004 born stars will play Saturday morning at Prospera Centre.

VIDEO: Education Minister talks SOGI 123 and the Chilliwack school board election

He said people are making ‘noise about side issues but student safety is important’

B.C. couple plans sustainable, zero-waste life in the Shuswap

Plan includes building a tiny house before the snow flies

‘Furry-tail’ ending for cat family rescued from under B.C. bridge

A special mewment for the kittens, soon to be sent to Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven

Housing slowdown forecast to cool B.C. economy

Conference Board says pipeline, trade uncertainty affecting investment

B.C. hockey product eyes shot at Olympic spot with China

Fletcher is one of 24 who travelled to Shenzhen, China for the first official Olympic dev camp.

Are you feeling lazy? That’s OK – it’s just science

UBC study shows that humans are hardwired to prefer being sloth-like

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marrisa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Seek compromise with U.S. on cannabis at border, lawyers urge Ottawa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency sent tremors through Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector

Most Read