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Volume13, Issue 3
March 2015


Bingo Exterior
Chuck Richards point to the new sign in the Milltowner Center


Sunset Bingo has moved from its former location in Beaverton to the space at Cornell and Saltzman that used to be Walgreens (and before that, Hi-School Pharmacy and Bales). Many have been surprised to see the sign go up, but it makes a lot of sense once you know the story!

Chuck Richards, founder and owner of Sunset Athletic Club, started Sunset Bingo way back in 1985. It’s not that he’s a bingo fan, he doesn’t even play. He is a big supporter of amateur athletics of all kinds. As a young athlete, he had a chance to travel to compete in a national swimming competition in Los Angeles. The community raised the funds he needed, and it made a big difference in his life and future.

Years later, he started thinking about ways to help other athletes by raising money. That’s when he hit on the idea of bingo. He formed the Oregon Sports Academy (OSA) and, after a few years of research, the original Sunset Bingo opened in the building next to “The Greek” on Murray. Freeway construction eliminated most of the parking lot, so the operation moved to Tanasbourne from 1991-93, and then into a former Fred Meyer building on Western Avenue in Beaverton.

Bingo snacks
The snack bar

Eventually, that space became too large and expensive to make it sustainable. Chuck knew that the former Walgreen’s space was available while Bales/Findley Property Management continues to work on their redevelopment plans. He and property manager Ryan Egge came up with an agreement, and the work to convert the space into a high-tech bingo parlor is now complete.

Who plays bingo? It appeals to a broad spectrum of people of all ages* and backgrounds. It is a highly social game, and is very popular among seniors. Some of the “regulars” are brought in by their caregivers, because it’s very easy for people with disabilities to play. People of all ages can get excited about the possibility of winning big with a small initial investment—you can play for three hours for just $5-6. Some of the games have a guaranteed payout of up to $1800.

The space will hold about 200 players. There is a snack bar that sells ice cream, candy and chips, soft drinks, and beer and wine. “Our players love it that they can also bring in their own food and non-alcoholic beverages,” says Richards. A separate lottery room has the usual Oregon Lottery machines, but all profits go to the OSA, as do all profits from everything within the operation.

bingo handheldIt’s not easy to get and maintain a state license to operate any type of charitable gaming. It’s tightly regulated by the Oregon Department of Justice. Richards notes that in the past, he has had fundraising partners who share the space, but each one needs to have their own license. The space, however, may be available for non-gaming rentals on the days when there’s no bingo.

Players buy a set of “cards” and mark them with “daubers.” Sunset Bingo also has electronic machines called PhDs (for Planet Handheld Device – named after Planet Bingo). These are full color touch screen handsets that track all of your bingo cards in play each game, and allow a serious player to participate in many games at once.

bingo screen
Large electronic “flashboards” display the numbers in the current game, with a video screen displaying each ball as it’s pulled up.

Two managers, Joel Roth and Kit Freeman, run the operation, along with a staff of up to eight people who operate the game itself, sell tickets and snacks, and work the floor to assist customers and keep the place clean.

Sunset Bingo will be open for two sessions on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays. They plan to add more days and hours soon. Hours and other information is on the website at, or call 503-234-5678 for more information.

* Players age 12-17 must be accompanied by a parent.


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Published monthly by Pioneer Marketing & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
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