New bingo parlor will join mix of ventures at old Lowe's

April 08, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Dr. Anjum Bux has taken on a new patient this year. He, his father and two of their colleagues have paid to rehab part of the old Lowe's building into the Danville Convention Center, and now are working to use the extra space for business ventures.

Already a day spa has opened and a movie theater will soon follow. Behind the building was a metal-covered shelter. What would they do with it? One of the nurses who works with Bux at Ephraim McDowell Regional Hospital had an idea: bingo. She was an avid player and thought Danville needed a new parlor.


The idea clicks in Bux's head, and he still smiles with the realization. An eight-screen movie theater is a perfect baby-sitter for those who want to play a session of bingo. One session lasts four hours. Plus, non-profits could run the games to raise funds.

Groups could raise $1,000 -$1,500, after expenses, Bux said.


Bux has never played the game, and knows more about doctoring than daubers. But he does know that he wants the most state-of-the-art bingo parlor in the area.

Workers from Branscum Construction in Russell Springs have already begun converting the shelter into a 10,000-square-foot facility to seat 400 people.

Bux and the other doctors, Madar Bux, Arthur Rivard and Thomas Serey, have applied for a facility charitable gaming license under their company name, BBRS. The application is still under review by the Department of Charitable Gaming.

Kentucky bingo had record year

Kentucky bingo had a record year in 2002, bringing in $608 million in gross receipts, according to the department's latest annual report. That is about $12 million shy of the lottery, and sixth in the country. Minnesota collects, by far, the most with $1.5 billion a year.

Kentucky charities raised $50 million for their causes in 2002. Every nonprofit that hosts games must have a license. Schools, civic groups, booster clubs, organizations that support the arts, police and other nonprofits are eligible to host games, but must be licensed by the state. One-third of the state's groups are Catholic charities, and the second largest group with gaming licenses are affiliated with veterans groups.

The Danville doctors are doing bingo like doctors would - with a section for non-smoking players separated by walls. There will be room for 100 non-smoking players and 300 smokers. The non-smoking players won't even have to walk through smoke to get their game cards, there will be two separate desks.

The balls with the called number will be broadcast on 16 TVs stationed in the building.

"We want to make the bingo parlor nicer than any other," Bux said.

The facility would be rented for $600 a session. The law allows them to host eight games a week. Concessions would be contracted out and not operated by the groups who have rented the building.

Bux hopes to be open by May 15, and said he will give the game a try.

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