Rank puts ten bingo halls up for sale ahead of smoking ban

Source: Business-sale.com

Gaming firm Rank, owner of the Mecca Bingo brand, have sold one of its bingo halls and has put nine others up for sale in preparation for July’s smoking ban.

A company statement read: “We have carried out a thorough review of our estate to identify those clubs most at risk from the smoking ban and where appropriate we will seek to exit vulnerable locations, either through licence relocations or outright disposals.”

“In February 2007 we completed the sale of our Hounslow club and later that month we announced that we would close a further nine clubs.”

Bingo is thought to be particularly vulnerable to a smoking ban due to the high propensity of members to smoke; the structured nature of bingo’s gameplay; regulatory constraints that restrict innovation; a high fixed-cost base; and the physical constraints of premises licensed for bingo.

Rank is confident that it can offset potential losses however, also stating that: “By the time that the smoking ban is implemented in England on 1 July, we will have introduced sheltered outside enclosures at the majority of our clubs. In turn we will apply for licensing approval to allow gaming in these enclosures, giving those of our members who smoke the chance to continue to enjoy their bingo.”

According to the group, across the industry there have been 17 club closures since the start of 2007. It is estimated that the number of bingo clubs operating in Great Britain fell by a net 20 in 2006, closing the year at 639 clubs.

From Casino-Bingo.co.ukMecca Games – Mecca Bingo review /

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