International edition
October 19, 2021

Attendance figures slump

Two bingo clubs close a month

(UK).- Two bingo halls a month are closing and hundreds are ­fighting for survival because of plunging attendance figures. A new study shows that profits in Britain’s once booming bingo industry have nosedived since the smoking ban in July 2007.

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n five years, the number of UK clubs has dropped from 678 to 526, with 25 closing last year alone.

As well as emptier halls, clubs have suffered a double blow ­because fruit machines used to generate up to half their income. But revenue from ­using them has dropped a third to US$ 935 million a year because players go outside to smoke rather than play machines between games.

Accountants Ernst & Young warn that many clubs are close to a 1,000-visits-per-week “tipping point” and more drops could put them out of business. Profits halved from US$406 million in 2006 to US$ 203 million last year as players fell from US$8 million to US$4 million.

Paul Talboys of the Bingo Association says, “clubs cannot attract punters with big jackpots because ­profits are taxed more than other gambling.” He said cutting tax would save thousands of jobs.

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