Gala Coral may be selling their Gala Bingo clubs in an effort to ‘clean up’ their operation. Whilst this summer has been one of the best for the past twenty years or so, the bad news for bingo clubs is that numbers have been down during an uncharacteristic run of ‘beer garden weather’.
While we’ve been throwing sausages onto the coals, the bean counters have been nervously looking at their profit and loss charts, and praying for rain. The reason that this is so poignant at the moment is that the Gala Coral Group are considering floating the company, and to do so they need to be showing a strong market position without any obvious weaknesses and unfortunately, at the moment the land based bingo wing of the operation is not looking too healthy.
The group only recently sold off their Gala Casinos to the Rank Group who own the Grosvenor Casino Chain, and the Mecca Bingo chain. As Gala are considering selling their whole chain at a ball park figure of £250 million it raises the question as to who might have the readies, and who would actually want to buy a chain that of late is not looking so good on paper.
Even if Mecca owners Rank have got the spare cash, indications are that they themselves would not interested. They appear to be concentrating on their casino end of the business, and have recently reined in their program of investing in making some of their clubs a lot more ‘youth friendly’, as to date the investments have not paid off.
Despite what does not look like a good investment opportunity, Gala Coral have apparently already been approached by private equity firms, although what they would actually do with the chain to turn it around is anyone’s guess. More.
Whatever happens, we do hope that the bingo halls themselves continue to operate, as they are depended on by a lot of people for socialising, entertainment, and more importantly, jobs.