Tuesday, 09 September 08 - 01:30 PM (GMT)
By Vincenzo Capozzoli in Mecca Bingo
At the moment they are lobbying MPs and Parliamentary candidates concerning the amount of tax Bingo firms have to pay. They are currently arguing that they are doubly taxed and as a consequence of this we are seeing Bingo Halls up and down the country closing.
Mecca Bingo in Southampton currently employs 24 people and has a membership in excess of 34,000 people. It serves an important role in society “The closure of Bingo clubs, especially those in the small, rural venues and deprived urban locations, has meant not only the loss of a pastime and form of entertainment but the disappearance of a unique social support network, relied upon especially by retired women. The demise of this pastime and network can have a detrimental impact upon the physical and mental wellbeing of patrons. Bingo closures appear to be both a manifestation and catalyst for a wider breakdown of local communities that could have a negative impact upon society” (“Unlucky for some” - The Social Impact of Bingo Club Closures - The Henley Centre, August 2007).
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While we were at the Bingo Hall, Councillor Jeremy Moulton was able to call out some of the numbers during Bingo game and we were all able to take a tour around the building, which was previously a theatre, then a 1500-seater cinema. Overall the day was a real eye opening allowing us to really understand the effects the smoking ban, internet gaming, doubled taxes and the credit crunch has had on the Bingo Gaming community.