Black Bear Casino Gig
Old-fashioned bingo, the black bear casino mn bingo of the first tribal casinos that sprouted in the Northland nearly 30 years ago, is fading into the sunset on Lake Vermilion.
Bingo floor worker Gary McFatridge of Cloquet reads a player's winning numbers to the caller for verification at the bingo hall on the Fond du Lac Reservation in July 1983.
Bingo's popularity has waned in recent years as other forms of gaming have arrived at Indian-run casinos in the Northland.
Fortune Bay Resort Casino has announced it will hold its last bingo session tonight, ending a 26-year run.
Fortune Bay, operated by the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe, started with only bingo in 1986 after federal court decisions made it clear Indians black bear casino mn bingo run and regulate gambling activities without interference from each state.
Bingo remained the only gambling offered at the casino until slot machines and blackjack were offered in 1991.
Fortune Bay grew over the years, adding a resort complex, golf courses and more games of entertainment laughlin guide casinos />But bingo didn't keep up, and fewer people turned out to stamp cards in recent years.
But after much discussion, it was decided that we simply couldn't offer this gaming activity any longer," said Norm Adams, Fortune Bay Resort Casino general manager, in a prepared statement announcing the change.
But the casino wasn't profitable until slots were added in 1989.
The Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa Indians ended bingo altogether at Fond-du-Luth more than five years ago, mostly to make room for more slots and blackjack tables.
Still, the band's gaming operation continues to offer bingo at Black Bear Casino near Carlton, said Karen Diver, tribal chairwoman.
She said bingo wasn't "cost-effective" in the downtown casino but noted Duluth customers still can catch a shuttle to play bingo at Black Bear.
While bingo black bear casino mn bingo a reputation as an old person's game -- more see more, an older woman's game -- Diver said bingo crowds often contain young and old alike.
It's not huge, but we have enough room to accommodate the game," Diver said of the band's Black Bear operations.
It's been holding its own.
We don't have any plans to close bingo.
Deegan, said efforts were made to attract new bingo players but were unsuccessful.
She said it wasn't feasible to continue black bear casino mn bingo the bingo hall.
Where hundreds of players once packed Fortune Bay's bingo hall, more recently "there were many sessions where we had less than 30 players in the bingo hall," Deegan said in a news release.
Three sessions this month were canceled due to black bear casino mn bingo low number of players.
It's not yet clear what Fortune Bay will do with the remaining bingo hall space, which had already been downsized to make room for more slot machines.
Four employees who work in bingo will be reassigned to other departments after the last session is held, officials said.
A check of other local casino websites found that the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe does not list bingo at either its Northern Lights Casino in Walker or White Oak Casino in Deer River.
The Grand Portage casino in far northern Minnesota and Legendary Waters and Lake of the Torches casinos in Wisconsin all list bingo on at least some nights, as does Grand Casino Hinckley.
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