Irish Bingo Hall Wins Legal Battle

Bingo is big business in the United Kingdom and there is hardly a town or hamlet without its own High Street bingo hall. In addition Great Britain is also the world’s largest internet bingo market and it is estimated that over three million people in the country play online bingo games regularly. Bingo is considered a part of British culture. In Ireland things are somewhat different. Bingo is popular but bingo hall operators must work with charities licensed by the national Lottery.  The recent police raid has received extensive coverage at many bingo news sources.

In Cork and new state of the art bingo hall has been making headlines for the last two weeks. It all started after police served a search warrant at the Rock Creek bingo hall and seized bingo books and other documents. The raid took place a half hour before the hall’s grand opening and was timed to do as much damage as possible. The hall’s owners fought back and obtained a restraining order against police prohibiting them from interfering with the operations of the bingo club. The hall was able to get an extended order from the courts and is safe until November 21st when the court will revisit the matter. The court also ordered police to notify the hall 24 hours in advance if they seek another search warrant.

The company behind the bingo operation, Omega Leisure, has invested over a million US dollars fitting out the state of the art bingo hall. The first games took place during the first week of November and were well attended. Over 250 bingo fans showed up at the Rock Creek bingo hall for the first games. The hall is capable of seating 1,000 players. Players admired the cushioned seats, heated auditorium, computerized playing tables and on site catering. Bingo player Angela Collins from Greenmount expressed her admiration and said “God but isn’t it classy. We were here last Tuesday night and we wanted to come back and play on the opening night.”

James and Dave Barber, the directors of the club said they were relieved that the club was up and running after the legal battles. Dave told reporters “We’re very proud of what we’ve developed here — and we believe that people will enjoy it. We believe it’s one of the best venues of its kind in the country.” The hall has an agreement with the Mercy Hospital Foundation and part of the proceeds from games goes to the hospital’s charity.