Buzz Bingo has announced plans to close 26 of its UK locations in a development that puts 570 staff at risk of job losses.
The UK’s largest bingo hall operator has said it has taken the drastic steps to ‘protect the future of its business’ as it tries to alleviate pandemic circumstances affecting the entire leisure and hospitality market.
The expected closures would see Buzz Bingo reducing its property capacity to 91 locations. From 6 August, the bingo operator will begin the phased reopening of their venues, initially reopening 12 bingo halls.
Buzz Bingo listed the following 26 sites as closing: Chatham, Salford, Salisbury, Banbury, Boston, Bournemouth, Bridlington, Carlisle, Chorley, Cramlington, Derby Foresters, Edinburgh Westerhailes, Harpurhey, Hereford, Kilmarnock, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Stockland Green, Tamworth, Wednesbury, Weymouth, Wigan, Wolverhampton, Worcester and Wythenshawe.
Chief Executive Chris Matthews has released a personal statement to workers affected: “We know how disappointing this news will be – especially for those of our customers who are losing their local club, and of course, our colleagues – we know that we are more than just a club, we are part of your community, and for that, I am really sorry.”
Buzz Bingo is the rebranded company of Gala Bingo, formerly owned by Gala Coral, which in 2015 sold the business to FTSE fund Caledonia Investments for £240 million, meeting a prerequisite for a transaction before Gala Coral merges with Ladbrokes Plc.
Operating as Gala Leisure, 2018 saw the introduction of the Buzz Bingo brand as part of a company-wide expansion of locations and marketing redesign.