by Marilyn Snedden
Bad news for bingo lovers in Almonte! The Car-Toot Bingos operated every Wednesday night in August by the Almonte Fairboard for several years are in danger of being cancelled this year. The Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission has put a hold on issuing any Drive-In Bingo permits while they continue an ongoing investigation into the operation
of drive-in bingos.
The Carp Fair has operated this type of bingo for 55 years but an article in the Ottawa Citizen last year about Wendall Johnston ,who started this idea,featured a photo showing children in the car while the adults played bingo. Someone complained to the Alcohol & Gaming Commission that children under 18 could be gambling and that started the investigation.
Kelly Egan had a column in the Ottawa Citizen titled "Hide the Daubers"pointing out what a fine family tradition it was with all ages able to come out for an evening that doesn't require hiring a babysitter. It had become a community tradition to sit out on a nice evening,enjoy a piece of homemade pie and maybe win a few dollars.
The Almonte Fair directors running the bingos in front of the grandstand noticed carloads of teenagers having fun as well as the older
people playing in lawn chairs while the baby slept in the car . It seemed like a fun event with no alcohol involved,the people who like to
smoke were free to do so, and if a younger person won any money, an adult signed for it.
The Carp Fairboard was issued a license in error this year and as there was an ongoing investigation,it couldn't be revoked so they had
bingos in July but unless a positive decision comes down soon,Almonte is out of luck this year.Also the local fairboard is out several
thousand dollars of income but the children will be safe from the danger of bingo daubers.
Check at www.almontefair.com in the next weeks to see if there is any change.