Neil Goulden has admitted that as many as 13 Gala Clubs around the country could close as a result of the smoking ban and the financial problems faced by the industry. Guardian Business has a report that 100s of jobs could be lost in the closures. The closures aren’t as immediate or as definite as the one Mecca put in place earlier this year. Gala will wait 6 months and assess the situation. Gala are prepared to “take the pain” of lower revenues in the short term rather than close the clubs forthright.
This could be a wise move – in Scotland they have started to see a rise in player spend following the first painful drops. It’s a ray of hope and if the industry could get its head around servicing a new audience and improving ways for its existing members to smoke and pay, there could still be hope. However, Neil Goulden remains downbeat about the future: “We could have 200 clubs closing. This could mean an enormous number of job losses and loss of amenity to local communities.” Which ever way you look at it, you can’t deny it’s going to be a tough couple of years for the game in the high street.