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Apr
27th

Spanish Bingo Halls Hit By National Smoking Ban

In 2007 the British government imposed a national smoking ban that caused chaos in the bingo, pub and entertainment industry. Surveys taken at the time showed at over 60% of all bingo players were smokers and the results of the effect on the bingo industry was predictable. At many bingo halls attendance dropped more than half and several bingo halls closed and thousands of bingo hall workers lost their jobs. The UK smoking ban was a boon for the internet bingo industry. In the two years following the imposition of the smoking ban many internet bingo sites reported an 805 increase in the number of regular players. The choice between internet and land based bingo has been split along generational lines. Older players still prefer live bingo games while younger players prefer online bingo games.

In recent years the bingo industry has expanded into the Spanish bingo market. The imposition of a national smoking ban in Spain has had predictable results. Polls show that about half of the residents oppose the ban while the other half of the Spanish population supports the ban. The Rank Group, which operates several Spanish bingo halls, reported an 18% drop in revenue from their Spanish bingo halls. At the present time Rank has not announced the closure of any of its bingo halls. Some industry experts believe that Rank is waiting for second quarter results before taking any kind of actions including the closure of unprofitable bingo halls in Spain.

On a positive note, Rank has experience dealing with the effects of a national smoking ban. In the UK Rank managed to survive the smoking ban by closing unprofitable bingo halls and increasing attendance at remaining bingo halls. Most in the gaming industry expect Rank to put their extensive experience to good use in Spain. Spain is also in the beginning of a bingo boom similar to the one that took place in the UK several years ago. Many believe that Spain would be a good target for the internet bingo industry. As has been mentioned after the imposition of the UK smoking ban the internet bingo industry took advantage of the opportunity and more than doubled the number of internet bingo players.

In the UK the rise of internet bingo has had the effect of creating more land based players and it is highly probable that the same thing will happen in Spain which could partially counter the effects of the smoking ban.