There’s been a couple of news stories this week around Gala Bingo’s financial status, or rather the status of the parent company Gala Coral. The private equity backed company has been suffering along with others in the industry, especially in its retail casino business. According to the Guardian the company’s debt rose to £4.4 billion, compared to 4.2 billion the year before. It’s blaming a lot of the losses on the closures and redundancies from the last year, which saw 13 Gala bingo halls close down, along with a number of 4 their casinos.
But it’s not all bad news for Gala Coral. The Times online has a more positive spin on the company’s financial situation, trumpeting that Bingo’s luck is changing. Dominic Harrison, the Chairman delegate who’s replacing Neil Goulden (yes I missed posting on that) was upbeat about Gala Bingo. According to the report in The Times he’s expecting to see a modest improvement in Bingo in the next year, helped by of all things, the recession! With Bingo being a modestly cheap night out, he’s hoping it will be more appealing to cash strapped folk in need of entertainment.
As positive as this seems, I’m not convinced the recession will help Bingo in it’s retail setting. I think it will be great for online bingo, especially people like Tombola and Sun Bingo who offer round the clock cheap bingo. I can definitely see it hitting a lot of the smaller halls, and I’ve heard a lot of people complain about ticket prices at Gala Clubs. Maybe they should look to these online initiatives for cheaper games and emulate, at the same time getting the word out to non-traditional markets at the great value for money that Bingo offers. That’s my tuppence worth anyway.