Buzz Bingo has revealed plans to close 26 of its UK venues in a move that will place 570 employees at risk of losing their jobs.
The UK’s largest bingo hall operator stated that it had undertaken the drastic actions to ‘protect the future of its business’ as it seeks to mitigate pandemic circumstances affecting the entire leisure and hospitality sectors.
The planned closures will see Buzz Bingo reduce its estate capacity to 91 venues. The bingo operator will begin the staggered reopening of its venues from 6 August, 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 issued a personal statement to affected employees: “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 entity of Gala Bingo, formerly a property of Gala Coral who sold the business to FTSE fund Caledonia Investments in 2015 for £240 million, fulfilling a deal requirement ahead of Gala Coral’s merger with Ladbrokes Plc.
Operating as Gala Leisure, in 2018 the Buzz Bingo brand was launched as part of a company-wide £40 million restructuring of venues and overhaul of marketing.