Portsmouth bingo club set to shut

CLOSING 'Crown Bingo
CLOSING 'Crown Bingo
Waverley Road. Picture: Google Maps

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A BINGO club is set to close because it is not making enough money.

The Crown Bingo in Kingston Road, Buckland, pictured below, will shut its doors in April after opening 25 years ago.

A number of problems have contributed to the downfall of the club including a boost in online bingo sites.

But general manager, Gary Bell, is feeling confident that the other four Crown Bingo clubs will remain open for years to come.

The clubs, in Cosham, Gosport, Havant and Bognor Regis have been subsidising the Portsmouth site but the company can no longer afford to do this.

Gary said: ‘Unfortunately we are having to shut the Portsmouth bingo club because it isn’t making any profits.

‘We have been subsidising it from our other clubs for the last five years and we just can’t afford to do it any more.

‘It’s a great shame because people used the club as a night out and to have fun with their friends.’

For Gary, there are three main factors that haven’t helped the bingo industry.

He said: ‘The smoking ban hit us hard.

‘Overnight we lost about a third of our customers because no-one wants to keep popping outside for a cigarette.

‘Also, online bingo sites have hindered us because people can stay at home, smoke, drink cheap beer and eat cheap food.

‘Gross profit tax hasn’t helped either. Bingo clubs get taxed 20 per cent on their profits whereas other gambling industries like casinos and betting shops only get taxed 15 per cent.

‘Over the five clubs, we would save £130,000 a year if our tax dropped to 15 per cent.’

Mr Bell also said that there were no plans to find another location for the closing club.

He said it was sad for people who have been attending since it opened.

‘Our customers were obviously upset because they don’t come just to win,’ he said. ‘For most, it is a night out with friends.’