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Bingo hall axed

PUBLISHED: 16:02 09 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:38 23 August 2010

A BINGO hall is set to close this month because profits have slumped since the smoking ban was introduced. Regular players claim the decision to axe the centre on New Road, Gravesend, will leave older players with nowhere to go. Retired Richard Mastin,

A BINGO hall is set to close this month because profits have slumped since the smoking ban was introduced.

Regular players claim the decision to axe the centre on New Road, Gravesend, will leave older players with nowhere to go.

Retired Richard Mastin, 42, from Wallace Park, Northfleet, said: "If this hall closes here it will mean a lot of the old ladies will have nowhere to go. For a lot of them coming here it is the only time they get out. The two closest branches are in Dartford and Strood and it will be hard for them to get there."

Housewife Toni Ewles, 43, from Victoria Road, Northfleet, added: "I'll be ok because I drive, but for the older people who rely on public transport it is going to be difficult to get to Dartford."

Gala Bingo confirmed the closure was expected on April 22 and is planning to sell the property. They are in negotiations with potential buyers but would not say who they were.

A spokesperson said: "Business has been declining at the Gravesend branch due to the effects of the smoking ban and the removal of the section 21 machines. We have informed all of the customers and, where possible, we are going to look at transferring their memberships to the branch at Dartford."

The smoking ban was introduced in England on July 1 last year.

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