Bingo Boss Feuds With Town Council

Since the postwar years the popularity of bingo in Britain has had its ups and downs. Bingo’s heyday was in the 1960’s after the passage of the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act. In the 70’s the game’s popularity dipped after stricter gambling laws went into effect. In recent years bingo in Britain has experienced a renaissance of sorts partially because of the addition of internet bingo. There are still many bingo palaces left where bingo players can indulge in their favorite game.

Bingo has a long history at seaside resorts in Britain. Many Londoners and those who travel to the south coast of England consider Brighton to be a bingo destination. Most of the major bingo brands such as Gala and Mecca are represented and are located just off of the seafront. Some bingo halls offer an extensive food and drinks menu. There is a Beacon Bingo hall located further inland and the Seminole Casino now hosts bingo nights along with the casino’s other gaming activities.

In Blackpool holidaymakers have always considered bingo to be a part of the Blackpool holiday experience. The seaside resort also offers a fairground and several arcades, some with antique games that date back to the early 20th century. The Empire Bingo Club is family owned and operated and has been offering bingo games for 35 years. Mecca operates a huge bingo venue in Blackpool. While not located at the seashore a visit to the small market town of Ilkeston in Derbyshire will be of interest to bingo historians. The town has one of the oldest bingo halls in Britain. The Ritz was opened in 1938 and its art deco interior is regarded by historians as one of the finest examples of the art deco style in the country.

Not everything is going well for seaside bingo halls. A bingo boss in the seaside town of Margate has criticized the town council as bad for business after the group refused to allow the well-known Crown Bingo establishment to put an inflatable King Kong above his Margate amusement arcade. The owners have invested £300,000 in the amusement complex and say the inflatable King Kong was just for fun and would be taken down every evening. Commercial director Byron Evans said: “The gorilla was a temporary installation and deflated every evening. It’s a bit of harmless fun and that’s what the British seaside should be about.”

King Kong fans named the dubbed the inflatable doll the ‘Margate Monkey’ and started a Facebook campaign to protest the council’s decision. In a statement reeking of bureaucracy the council stated “The council is particularly keen to support local businesses and, in this case, full consideration was given to the merits of the application for the gorilla sign at the premises.The advertisement attracted much public interest and it was necessary for the council, in making its decision, to balance consideration of the benefits to the business of the proposed signage against the wider visual impacts of the gorilla sign on the character and appearance of the Margate Seafront Conservation Area. The conclusion we drew was that the signage would be out of keeping and harmful to the conservation area.” Hopefully Marvin will be there to greet summer visitors and bingo players.