Will Bingo Halls be Consigned to the Dustbin of History?
Colonel Boyle | October 16, 2009 at 05:19 amby
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However, one enterprising bingo hall owner in the UK has decided that the only way is up and has revamped his hall in the hope that his new blueprint will rescue the ailing industry.
The Mecca bingo hall in Beeston, Notts, has been given a £5 million pound refit. Customers are greeted by waiters, who serve cappucinos and wine, and encouraged to stay on after games have finished to listen to loud music and dress "outrageously".
This is part of a widening 'gentrification' of UK culture that is alarming some who feel that traditional activities are being allowed to die because they are "unfashionable". While the owners of Mecca will be hoping that their new venture will boost attendance (and initial signs are good for the club) the long term threat posed by online bingo and changing demographics mean that things like bingo halls will eventually be consigned to history alongside surburban cinemas and local shops. Even with changes such as these, Gala's attendance figures are down 3% on the same time last year.
Some people won't mourn for the loss of these outposts of what is, in effect, mass gambling for the poor. But for those who remember a time when each town would boast a working men's club, bingo hall, butcher and cinema, gimmicks like revamped hall only draw painful attention to the fact the fabric of their country is changing forever under their nose. Whether these bastions of the local culture are demolished or "taken upmarket", they leave behind a small, unlamented part of the population behind.
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