Smokers to Get Hand Held Devices at Mecca Bingo Hall

It is no secret that the national smoking ban in the UK has been very unpopular with bingo hall operators. We previously covered the far-reaching effects of the bingo smoking ban, and its impact on internet bingo. When the ban was imposed in 2007 many bingo halls lost over half of their regular players. A survey taken at the time showed that about 63% of all bingo players were smokers. Bingo operators tried all sorts of tricks to lure smokers back to bingo halls but were unsuccessful. One enterprising bingo provider even offered shipboard games outside of the UK’s territorial waters so smokers could puff away while playing. The cruises were shirt lived because of the large expenses involved.


Combating the Bingo Smoking Ban

According to many bingo news sources one major bingo provider has decided to fight back once again. Bingo news reports indicate that Mecca bingo plans to spend a staggering £60,000 pounds ($98,361.00 USD) to build larger smokers shelters at some of their bingo halls. Mecca hopes to reverse the damage done by the smoking ban by expanding the shelters for smokers. The Mecca club at Leigh in Edinburgh is one of the clubs targeted for the expanded shelter. Mecca is now owned by the Rank Group which announced plans to refurbish several bingo halls earlier in the year.


Semi-Mobile Bingo

Mecca has also announced plans to give bingo players hand held devices so they can continue their games while having a smoke. Mecca will be giving players the hand held devices at the Edinburgh as soon as the expanded shelter is completed. The devices will enhance players enjoyment of the games and they will not miss out on any of the action while smoking in the expanded shelter. Not everyone is pleased by the recent developments.  Not all of Edinburgh’s councilors were in favor of the plan and expressed concerns. Labour member Eric Barry stated “This actually goes against public health by allowing people to spend longer in a smoking area while playing this game.”


Bingo Noise Concerns

According to several bingo news sources residents close to the bingo club have expressed concerns about the level of noise from the shelter. Stephen McGowan who represented Rank Group at the licensing board meeting tried to allay fears and stated “There will be no public address system or speakers in this area. And as part of these changes, we are creating a noise lobby because internal double doors will be closed, so we are actually reducing the (noise) problem.” So far both sides have taken a ‘wait and see’ attitude and believe problems can be addressed as they occur.