Survey highlights dangers for bingo


The effects of the upcoming smoking ban on bingo halls in England could be even worse than expected with a new survey suggesting that up to one-in-ten players could give up playing in clubs altogether.

The survey, carried out by online gaming company St Minver, asked 3,000 bingo players their thoughts on how July’s new smoking ban will affect their bingo playing habits.

With up to two-thirds of all regular bingo players being smokers, the results do not bode well for land-based operators such as Gala Bingo and Mecca Bingo. However, 63% of the smokers surveyed revealed they would spend more time playing Online Bingo once the ban is introduced.

A smoking ban was introduced in Scotland last year, which led to a fall in revenue of up to 15 per cent at some clubs, with others having to close completely.

In preparation for the ban, Rank Group, the company that run Mecca Bingo, announced it will close nine of its bingo clubs in England. They has also entertained novels ideas on how they can keep their smokers still playing bingo, such as building shelters outside the hall where players can smoke and still play bingo. Handheld bingo machines are also being considered by bingo operators.

Nevertheless, the ban may not be all doom and gloom as it will provide those bingo operators with an online presence a chance to entice players to play on their website.

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