Smoking and Bingo: Incompatible Addictions

Category: Black Jack
Hits: 3469

If history is any indicator, bingo and smoking bans do not mix well. In Great Britain, a smoking ban was imposed in 2007, and a study made at the time showed that about 63% of all bingo players smoked. A BBC article written just after the smoking ban was implemented asked the question; will the smoking ban Kill Bingo Halls? The article pointed out that the bingo industry in the UK employed about 20,000 people and generated billions in revenues annually.

After the ban was imposed, bad news piled up, and reports of bingo hall closures came in from every part of the UK. In Scotland 10, bingo halls closed shortly after the ban was enforced. Mike Lowe, manager of Premier Bingo in Kirkcaldy, said that between games about 40% of his customers leave the hall to smoke – which causes a significant drop in profits. Lowe told the BBC, “When you look at a loss of around 40% of your bottom line, that's devastating, and I'm not sure as operators where we move from here.”

British bingo halls are not the only ones pressured by smoking bans. On the other side of the Atlantic, a Veteran’s of Foreign Wars post reported a significant drop in players after the implementation of a smoking ban after post members voted to go smoke free – affecting online bingo in serious ways. Since Kentucky is a tobacco producing state the state has resisted the national trend to impost statewide smoking bans. Two veterans’ organizations in Bowling Green Kentucky resisted a city wide smoking ban but after several citations by local police voted to ban smoking on the premises.

In Ohio a Catholic Parochial school may be forced to raise tuition and cut back on some programs after a statewide smoking ban was imposed. In states with smoking bans in place charities and veteran’s groups using bingo as a fundraising tool have reported diminished attendance at games and in many cases the organizations have been forced to end their bingo games.

There is one industry that has actually benefitted from smoking bans. Online bingo operators in the UK reported an 80% increase in player numbers shortly after the national ban was enforced. Increased broadband access in the country and faster computer speeds offered instant access to exciting online bingo games for former land based players. Bingo players who are smokers can happily puff away in the privacy of their own homes while playing their favorite game.

Developed and Supported by IT