Arts & Life
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Kinsmen Jackpot Bingo has a record-breaking $690,000 up for grabs Saturday — and the windfall may not get that big again.
Winnipeg-based organizers of the televised charity fundraiser hope to double the number of bingos that happen in a year. Since July 4, the group has been printing double the number of unique cards, which feature numbers organized in a different manner.
"We've made it easier to win a jackpot," said bingo chairman Raj Phangureh. "When you get bigger and bigger spreads of cards, that's where you increase chances of a win, because there's more chances that there's a winning card out there."
Based on statistics, there should be eight to 10 jackpots a year, instead of the usual four or five, Phangureh said.
This means smaller periods of time for the jackpot to grow; on average, someone should win the jackpot every couple months, but it's theoretical, Phangureh said.
"There may be periods where we have five (to) 10 months of growth. You can never predict with a lot of random variables," he said.
The Kinsmen Club of Winnipeg needed approval from the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba to print more unique cards. When a bingo organizer runs out of their set of unique cards, they sell a new set of the same cards. When that happens, several people can hold the same winning card.
The Kinsmen have seen a big increase in people buying cards over the past year, Phangureh said. Last July, they sold about 6,000 cards a week; this year, they're selling around 45,000 cards a week. A dollar from each card goes toward the jackpot.
The last time somebody won the jackpot was Feb. 1: $640,000, which was the organization's largest pot at the time.
At the time, shops sold out of tickets, and Manitobans had taken to chasing the club's courier to grab one.
"I think we've been a lot better prepared this time," Phangureh said, as the community club is shipping cards to stores ahead of time; also, customers are purchasing more online.
Manitobans could get their cards online only from the end of March to June 27, due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. There was a 10 per cent drop in sales during that time, Phangureh said.
Kinsmen Jackpot Bingo airs Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. on CTV and YouTube Live.
Community Correspondent — Headingley
Gabrielle Piché is a community correspondent for Headingley. Email her at email@example.com
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