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Smoking bans in UK bingo halls

5 Jan 2007

UNITED KINGDOM – (PRESS RELEASE) -- July 1 of this year will see a smoking ban imposed on all public places in England and Wales, and as the current proposed legislation will not exempt private members clubs, this will make lighting up in bingo halls up and down the country illegal.

In Scotland, a smoking ban was put into place in March 2006, and early reports suggest that this has created a dire situation for the country's many bingo venues. Income, and as a result, prize money, has dropped by anything from 17% up to 26%, and many bingo clubs have already closed because of this.

Scottish clubs have tried to curb these falling revenues by installing devices outside, such as patio heaters and canopies, but even this is proving quite an inconvenience for the members who do smoke. It has also attributed to a drop in revenue due to players going out for a quick puff in between games, rather than playing on the many fruit machines inside bingo halls.

As a relatively large percentage of bingo players are smokers, and will probably not want to stand outside in the cold, it is believed that many bingo players, who enjoy smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products whilst playing, will seek out alternatives.

Gavin Blowman, head of marketing at Britain's most popular online bingo website, suggests, "This will inevitably lead to more people joining online bingo websites as they allow members to play in the comfort of their own home.

"Many players also prefer this because there are fewer restrictions -- there are no closing times and certainly no dress code!"

The social aspect of a traditional bingo hall is not lost either; players at bingo websites such as can chat and make friends in the various chat rooms, and there is a strong sense of community whilst playing bingo on the internet.

"I like to play early because it means I can chat with my friends in the Breakfast Club. I've met loads of new friends on here", says Natalie Palmer, 38, of Peterhead in Scotland. And with cards starting from as little as 10p and recent bingo payouts of nearly £55k, it's not hard to see why playing bingo on the net has become more and more popular.

Many bingo players in Scotland have now turned to online bingo as an alternative. As this is played at home, the smoking ban has no effect on it at all -- in fact, once the smoking ban starts to cover the whole of the UK, it is expected that online bingo will really begin to take off, which is great news for bingo lovers, as the jackpots will get bigger and bigger!

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