Since the 2014 bingo taxation announcement we have been waiting to see what the long term effects of the budget would be, and this is the first truly positive outcome we’ve seen. We are guessing that many clubs that may have closed if the tax had not been cut have in fact remained open, but, other than that, this is the first new opening we’ve seen.
And, the £5 million Gala are investing in a newly built club shows confidence in what what has over the past decade been seen as a struggling or even failing industry. If we had heard that Gala were going to take over an old theatre or cinema that would have been good news, but to hear of a new purpose built venue is even better.
The new development will be at the Antelope Park in Thornhill, Southampton. Southampton also has a current a bid in for a super casino on the Royal Pier development. That particular bid has been going on for over a year, with several of the big casinos names vying to operate a giant casino. Gala Bingo owners Gala Coral would have probably been putting in a bid themselves had they not recently offloaded all their casinos in a big sale.
Luckily for Gala, bingo is seen as gambling with a small ‘g’, so their application has not had to jump through the same hoops as the prospective casino operators have, and the bingo hall is forecast to open in January 2016. The proposal has obviously not had the amount of objections that the casino has as a bingo hall is seen as more of a community friendly venture.
The club will bring 50 new jobs into the area, and it may be an opportunity for Gala to ‘hardwire’ appeal to younger players into the actual architecture itself. We do hope that the club is a success whatever the age of the players is, as its performance may be an indicator of things to come in the world of offline bingo.