Bury St Edmunds: 22 jobs lost as Winners Bingo shuts up shop after 20 years in the town
The “smoking ban and online bingo” have led to the closure of Winners Bingo after 20 years in Bury St Edmunds.
The club – on Hatters Street – was one of three in the region, but financial pressure lead to the closure of the Bury branch on September 21.
Twenty-two members of staff have been made redundant, with some being offered places in the Thetford branch.
A spokesman from Winners Bingo said: “It is with great regret that this decision has been taken after 20 years of operating in the town, but there are a number of important factors that have contributed to the closure.
“The number of bingo clubs in the UK has declined rapidly in the recent past. This has been due to two main factors, firstly falling admissions since the smoking ban and, secondly, the dramatic rise in popularity of online bingo.
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“Also, the lease on the Bury club has come to an end but the adjacent Abbeygate Cinema is interested in expanding their operation into the bingo club space.
“Winners Bingo in Guildhall Street in Thetford, and in Wisbech, continue to trade normally, have very loyal support and remain popular.
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“At the request of customers, Winners Bingo will operate coaches to the Thetford club where the community can still enjoy their bingo.
“Unfortunately, the closure of the Bury operation has meant that a total of 22 full- and part-time redundancies have had to be made, while a number of staff are being offered jobs in the Thetford club.
“Winners Bingo is very sorry to disappoint its loyal customers and staff but thanks everyone for their support over the last 20 years.”
Tony Jones, owner of the neighbouring Abbeygate Cinema, confirmed his interest in the venue.
He said: “We wouldn’t be opening for a while as yet. It is a long way off happening. There are big improvements that have to be costed out, there are soundproofing issues we have to sort out. We would be looking at a year until we are in there, but we are interested.”
Mr Jones added: “I am not interested in bingo but it was very big on the last night. I don’t think it will affect our business, but it would not be good to have a derelict building next door. It is a fantastic building, it has been kept immaculately and had a lot of money put into it.
“We would need to spend money on the things that no one would notice, air condition and soundproofing.
“I am having a meeting with architects at the site next week, I will be able to say more then.
“It [the cinema] does well, it is a superb asset in the centre of Bury. It has got good food, the staff are good and it is a very modern facility.
“A lot of money has been spent from when it was an ailing cinema five years ago.”