A former cinema in Cambridge which is now home to Gala Bingo is the latest casualty in the crisis that is being felt by high street bingo halls all over the country. The Gala bingo hall on Hobson Street has been a bingo hall for the best part of 36 years and is sadly set to close on the 25th May after being sold to a property developer.
The news of the Cambridge Gala Bingo hall closure for local bingo players is catastrophic as there are no other bingo halls in the area. Bingo players will have to travel much further afield to enjoy their weekly bingo games, as the nearest clubs are in Bury St. Edmunds, Peterborough, Bedford or Harlow.
There have been quotes published on the local paper website that local people are very unhappy about the shock closure of the Cambridge Gala bingo hall, although local players admit that the Cambridge Gala bingo hall has seen bingo player numbers take a dive. They all believe that the diminishing player numbers at the Cambridge Gala Bingo hall has been sparked by the smoking ban, which is now becoming an all too familiar story. We have often reported that the smoking ban, high taxation, differing social trends and restrictions on slot machine payouts have all been detrimental factors in the trading figures for bingo halls. The problems of the bingo halls have also recently been further aggravated by the shock budget changes to the gross profit taxation of bingo halls delivered by Alistair Darling.
Sadly other casualties of the closure of the Cambridge Gala bingo hall will be the twelve bingo hall staff who will now all lose their jobs. The Cambridge Gala bingo hall has seen some big winners over the last few years, in 2003 a national prize of £200,000 was won by an 82 year old bingo player, in 2005 another octogenarian won a jackpot of £10,000, then in 2006 a lady in her fifties won £24,000, sadly these big winners will likely be the last in the Cambridge Gala bingo hall’s history books.