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Bingo layoffs expected

11 June 2007

UNITED KINGDOM -- As reported by the UK Guardian: "The gambling group Gala Coral, Britain's biggest private equity-owned company, has admitted it expects to close 12 or 13 of its bingo clubs - with the loss of hundreds of jobs - if the impact of the smoking ban, coming into force in England next month, is as dramatic as it has been in Scotland.

"It is the first time Gala's chief executive, Neil Goulden, has put a figure on the number of likely closures within the group, which operates 171 bingo halls. However, he insisted no decision on closures would be made until the end of the year, when he believes the competitive landscape will look very different.

"The plan to delay closures is in marked contrast to the strategy being pursued by Gala's closest rival, Rank Group. Rank has already shut 15 of the 118 clubs it operated when the smoking ban was introduced in Scotland in March last year and it has a further 10 sites up for sale.

"...The bingo industry emerged last year as the biggest casualty of the smoking ban in Scotland..."

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