Tale of cow bingo ban revealed by gambling supremo
Bermuda’s gambling watchdog has admitted he attracted global media attention when he tried to ban a game of chance called “Cow Plop Drop Bingo” in Canada.
Jean Major said the event, also called “Cow Patty Bingo”, involved a field divided into numbered squares, with the cattle herded in.
If a cow defecated in a square, the individual who had bought a ticket for the plot won the prize money.
Mr Major said: “I had just started this job as manager for lotteries. The integrity of the games is important, as is the good taste.
“There was a lottery that had been going on in Ontario for quite some time and my job was to make sure that the law was complied with and that those factors of good taste and integrity were maintained.
“So, they had this one lottery that was called Cow Patty Bingo. Now I was a city boy so I had never seen Cow Patty Bingo in Toronto.
“But, apparently, in rural parts of the province this was a big thing.”
Mr Major, the chief executive of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, told the tale in a recent talk to business leaders about the possibility of an expansion of the use of lotteries on the island.
He said he tried to ban Cow Patty Bingo in 1990 but relented after a public backlash.
Mr Major said: “We had a legal opinion, which I thought was really funny because it talked about the possibility that the bowel movements of a bovine can be manipulated in such a way.
“Little did I know that I was destroying the social fabric of rural Ontario at the time by banning this event.
“The policy was front-page news in the Toronto Star and I had international interviews from Australia, from Japan, and England and the United States and everywhere.
“Everyone was looking for Jean Major and I kept saying, ‘I don’t know where she went’.”
Mr Major added: “I’m glad to report that after a tortuous two or three months of haranguing at the political level that we made Cow Patty Bingo legal in Ontario.”
He told the meeting: “If you are ever in Ontario I will take you to an event if you so desire.”
Mr Major said that a chicken could be substituted for a cow in variations of the game played across Canada — but joked that he did not recommend the idea for Bermuda.
The commission is in talks with the Government about whether to update legislation to allow charities and philanthropic organisations to use lotteries more to help to raise cash.