The effect of the smoking ban in Scotland's bingo establishments can now be clearly seen as five clubs have already folded, while three more are expected to close down in the next few weeks as the situation worsens.
Almost 30 to 40 bingo halls are at risk of closing down in the long run if this trend continues, according to the Bingo Association. The warning from the group comes just a mere three months after the smoking ban was implemented.
The bingo halls in Scotland currently number 86 with the gaming industry employing 3,500 people north of the Border out of the total number of gaming industry employees in Britain of about 21,000.
Bars and pubs have gotten off lighter on the situation because after the smoking ban was enforced, the bars and pubs only needed to create gardens and erect awnings to cope up with ban which says no smoking in public in enclosed places.
On the other hand, bingo got the worse end of the deal because players are not allowed to use electronic terminals outside of bingo halls or more specifically outdoors. Operators, according to the Bingo Association have taken hit on their revenues as high as 27%. Because of that, industry leaders are now calling for tax breaks to help ease the situation.
Bingo Association Chairman, Sir Peter Fry commented that the critical situation and the speed of the impact of the smoking ban in the industry is very alarming in Scotland.
Peter Perrins, who is Carlton Bingo's managing director said that with applying for an outdoor gaming license, which is virtually impossible, it is very unlikely to secure an efficient game play when half of your bingo players are outside because they cannot smoke inside the bingo halls.
Carlton Bingo has already closed their branch in Dunfermline while another business group, KE entertainment closed down their businesses located in Kirkcaldy and Denny.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006