Rank set to sell 10 bingo halls

Rank Group, owner of the Mecca Bingo brand, has announced it will put 10 of its bingo halls up for sale in preparation for the smoking ban which will be introduced in July.

In Scotland, Rank saw a fall in revenues of 17 per cent as a smoking ban was introduced in March last year and has also led to closure of nine of its bingo halls earlier this year.

The clubs which will be placed up for sale are those that Rank considers the most under threat from the ban. However, they are keeping their options open with regards to the nature of their sale.

“These include selling them as a going concern, selling the sites for alternative use, or retaining them,” said a Rank spokesman.

The ban will see players required to leave the bingo hall to have a cigarette in the break between games thus meaning fewer people will play on slot machines.

The smoking ban has left many in the bingo industry anxious over its predicted negative effect on profits and has led many big executives to encourage the UK government to tax bingo operators at a reduced rate.

However, the big UK bingo operators will be entertaining novel ideas of getting round the smoking ban, such as the use of handheld devices in sheltered smoking dens outside the hall which will allow smokers to continue to play along with the main bingo game.

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2007-05-08 11:51:18

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