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Former Chilliwack Bingo groups score $4,900 each in trailing payment

Chuck Keeling, vice president of stakeholder relations and responsible gaming with Great Canadian Gaming Corporation presents a $260,000 cheque to Knight Road Legacy Association president Jerry Wernicke at a March 14 directors dinner. - CNW Group/Chances Chilliwack
Chuck Keeling, vice president of stakeholder relations and responsible gaming with Great Canadian Gaming Corporation presents a $260,000 cheque to Knight Road Legacy Association president Jerry Wernicke at a March 14 directors dinner.
— image credit: CNW Group/Chances Chilliwack

Former members of the Chilliwack Bingo Association (CBA) are reaping dividends sooner than expected from the sale of the local bingo to Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC) three years ago.

GCGC built Chances Chilliwack casino after buying CBA and its Olds Drive property for $10 million and promising the original, non-profit organizations that ran the bingo future “trailing” payments over 20 years.

After the first two months of operations, the Chances owners last year paid the 49 former CBA members (now organized as the Knight Road Legacy Association) $41,600—$787 for each member organization after taxes.

Last week, after its first full year of operations, GCGC handed the Knight Road Legacy Association a cheque for $262,000, which will work out to about $4,900 per member group after taxes.

“It's worked out better than we thought,” Cathy Oss, secretary of the Knight Road Legacy Association and president of the Chilliwack Fair said of the purchase agreement. “We were told that it might take a year or two before they reached the goal at which point they'd be giving us out some money.”

While the $10 million from the June 2011 sale was divided among the CBA non-profits based on how much time each organization had volunteered at the old bingo, the trailing payments are divided equally.

“That's a quarter million dollars being spent in Chilliwack,” Oss said. “All that money is being spent locally, for local causes.”

Since the trailing payments are slated to continue for another 18 years, Oss said the casino surplus will also bring some continuity to funding for local non-profits, including groups ranging from the #147 Airwolf Air Cadets and the Chilliwack Community Arts Council to the Sardis Fliers Speed Skating club and the Ann Davis Transition Society.

"We are absolutely thrilled and proud to be able to issue such a considerable amount to Knight Road Legacy Association, as this group of charities and non-profit organizations is known for providing support to so many in the Chilliwack community," Chances Chilliwack general manager Chris Lynn said in a press release Friday.

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