Bingo! More jackpot slot machines for bingo halls
The struggling bingo industry finally received a little bit of good news yesterday after gambling minister Gerry Sutcliffe announced that the government will double the amount of £500 jackpot slot machines allowed in bingo halls from four to eight.
Sutcliffe, in a statement to the House of Commons, was acutely aware of the problems the industry has faced.
“Bingo clubs play a crucial role in many communities and we want to see that continue. For some people, especially older and retired women, bingo is their main leisure pursuit. It is therefore of great concern that nearly 100 bingo clubs have closed in the last four years,” Sutcliffe said.
Sutcliffe went on to say that he would hope to implement the new policy by the end of the year.
Paul Talboys, chief executive of the Bingo Association, was just as relieved as he was pleased about the news. He said: “We believe today’s announcement will go some way to addressing the adverse position bingo operates under. Our hope is that this can be implemented as soon as practicably possible, as the future of many clubs depends on it.”
However, the news was not as good for the seaside and high street arcades as Mr Sutcliffe rejected calls to increase the number of high stakes machines permitted in their venues.