Amid the ongoing coronavirus-induced shutdown of their clubs and bingo operators in Scotland have reportedly joined together to call on the government to provide them with increased levels of sector-specific financial support.
According to a Thursday report from the Daily Record newspaper, the Save Scottish Bingo campaign is being coordinated by the local branch of the Bingo Association and is seeking a commitment from officials at Holyrood that they will increase the £3,000 ($4,100) currently being paid to shuttered venues every month. The organization purportedly detailed that its sector has lost more than £80 million ($109.3 million) in revenues since March and that the government’s continued prevarication could lead to the closure of properties as well as the permanent loss of more than 1,000 industry jobs across the length and breadth of Scotland.
The newspaper reported that the Bingo Association is arguing that the government cash currently being paid to its members is not enough to help properties cover a multitude of fixed costs such as utilities and rent. Bingo facilities in Scotland have been closed for all but six weeks since the original coronavirus lockdown was instituted some ten months ago with the organization purportedly having declared that ‘without support, the local bingo club could become a thing of the past.’
Miles Baron (pictured) serves as Chief Executive for the Bingo Association and he reportedly told the newspaper that bingo clubs in Scotland ‘have been entertaining a largely working-class and female demographic since the 1960s’ and that their continued survival has now been put at risk owing to the coronavirus pandemic. He purportedly proclaimed that this sector contributes a significant amount of cash to local economies from Wick to Annan while moreover providing ‘schemes intended to address the social isolation of many of our customers.’
Baron reportedly declared…
“It is therefore extremely difficult to explain to our valued customers and our employees why their pastime and job is seemingly of less importance to save than other entertainment and hospitality businesses, many of whom have received significant funding from the Scottish government. Without support, the local bingo club could become a thing of the past. All we are asking is that the Scottish government levels the playing field and grants us the same support that our friends and colleagues in hospitality, cinemas and nightclubs have all received.”
Buzz Group Limited is responsible for twelve bingo clubs in Scotland with the operator’s Regional Director, Clive Newton, reportedly stating that his company is supporting the Save Scottish Bingo campaign as its venues are ‘at the heart of local communities’. He purportedly asserted that customers visit Buzz Bingo-branded venues as ‘a way to stay in touch and socialize with friends and family’ and that this option serves as ‘a real lifeline for people and something many miss terribly at the moment.’
Reportedly read a statement from Newton…
“That’s why we’re calling on the Scottish government to help support the bingo industry in the same way its supported other hospitality and entertainment businesses. While clubs up and down the country remain closed for now, we want to ensure that when the world returns to normal, bingo clubs are able to re-open and welcome the community back once more.”