Gala’s Goulden blasts smoking ban


Gala Bingo Coral’s chief executive Neil Goulden has labelled the impact of the Scottish smoking ban on bingo players “far worse than expected.” Goulden said that the ban had undermined the customer’s enjoyment and made them feel ‘oppressed’.

“They don’t blame us, they don’t even blame the government,” he continued. “They feel bad about themselves. I don’t think anyone predicted what would happen to the psyche of the bingo player.”

The critical remarks come as Northern Ireland introduced its own smoking ban and rival Scottish bingo firm Carlton announced a plunge in profits of 62 per cent, attributed solely to the ban.

Carlton’s managing director Peter Perrins called 2006 a year “the company would wish to hide and forget.” He said that he hoped the industry would recover, citing a changing attitude to smoking as time passes.

“I think the public perception of bingo as a smoke-filled room will change over time also,” Perrins added, “hopefully appealing to non-smokers.”

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