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Weekly pools could raise lots of money for the Bills

The Buffalo Fan Alliance is a great idea, one that may be needed sooner rather than later. Keeping the Bills in Buffalo is so important to the community and the ethos of being a Buffalonian, whether you are a Bills fan or not, even if you have no interest in the NFL. Here’s an idea that could raise significant funds from the people who are unable to write a check for big bucks, but are passionate about the Bills.

Every week during the season, thousands of local establishments run a 100-square pool for that week’s game. Players pay anything from $1 to $10 a square, providing a pot anywhere from $100 to $1,000. The winners are paid out according to the game’s score by quarter, half and final. Now that the season is over, there are no pools.

My idea is to continue these pools through the off season. Patrons contribute the usual amount per square. The numbers are determined by the usual card deal and the winner is paid out based on a final card draw. Now, instead of paying out the total pot, the winner gets half. The other half is donated to the Bills Bank.

If each pot is $200 ($2 a square), the $100 going to the Bills Bank gets a certificate in the name of “The Patrons of this bar, club, restaurant, whatever.” Should the winner be in a position to redonate the winnings, the certificate would include the winner’s name.

The beauty of this approach is continuity. Every week, from preseason to the Super Bowl, people participate in these pools. This idea just continues the regular weekly flutter. It allows people to show their support in an easy, familiar way. The alliance needs a mechanism to promote this idea to all the local places that run football pools. I’m sure they can figure out a way. Let’s do it. Go Bills! Stay Bills!

Richard Arnatt

Buffalo