VIDEO: Budget boost for bingo lovers

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It’s usually a different kind of house bingo players are concerned with, but it was eyes down in the House of Commons when George Osborne announced a cut in duty on bingo halls from 20 per cent to 10 per cent in his Budget speech to MPs last week.

The pastime had been threatened as more bingo halls up and down the land have been forced to close in recent years.

Mecca Bingo, Talbot Road, Blackpool.

Mecca Bingo, Talbot Road, Blackpool.

But following this news regulars at Mecca Bingo, on Talbot Road, Blackpool, have shared their optimism at the Chancellor’s backing and given their thoughts on why more people should take up playing.

Pamela Mann, 67, from Portway, Bispham, said: “It’s fabulous, it’s fantastic.

“This might boost it and more people will come.

“This is what we want because we don’t want to lose any more bingo halls.”

Greta Vanderbilt, 90, from Argosy Avenue, Grange Park, said: “It’ll be better for the halls and in the end it’ll be better for us.

“Bingo keeps you alert and it keeps you young.

“There’s a real mix of people and you feel better for playing.”

Sisters Shirley Neild and Sylvia Parker added their support to the Government’s decision.

Shirley, 78, from Droylsden, near Manchester, said: “It’s a good opportunity for the halls.

“It might improve things but that remains to be seen.

“Sylvia, 80, from Stalmine, added: “It’s a good idea and might bring more people in.

“There’s a good social aspect to coming here.”

The Chancellor’s plans mean it will be cheaper for bingo halls to operate and it is hoped, with them paying less tax to the Exchequer, it will enable club owners to invest in staff, build new venues and save others threatened with closure.

Players say they also hope there will be a windfall for them, with the potential for halls to increase the amount of prize money on offer and attract new players to the venues.

Irene Parkinson, 70, from Thirlmere Close, Knott End, said: “It’s about time the Government did something.

“Hopefully there’ll be more prize money.”

She added: “For me bingo is about socialising.

“It isn’t just about playing bingo, you get to know a lot of people.”

Wendy Kinsey, 51, from Handsworth Road, North Shore, said: “This cut should give the game a boost.

“It’s fun and we have a right laugh.”

May Fitton, 78, from Manor Road, central Blackpool, said: “It’s good really if it encourages other people to come.”