Dominating the UK bingo news on Wednesday has been the talk of Beacon Bingo Northampton being given the go-ahead by Northampton Borough Council's planning committee to add a casino to its premises.
The hugely popular bingo venue on Weedon road was awarded planning permission yesterday for the site to house a 24/7 casino operated by Merkur Casino that will be open 364 days a year (lockdowns permitting of course). However, despite having permission to open 24 hours a day, it is understood that its actual opening hours will be determined by the demand shown in the first few months after opening.
The planning documents show that the new casino will have its main entrance next to Beacon Bingo Northampton facing Weedon Road. In the approved planning documents seen by the Northampton Chronicle, Merkur Casino's strategic vision was outlined. It said:
“The strategic vision for Merkur Casino Northampton seeks to promote and deliver the following:”
“Offer a new and exciting casino venue, in partnership with the bingo club next door, so customers can mix and match their leisure preferences all under one roof.
“Offer a new employment opportunity for 50 or more team members, in a desperately difficult leisure employment market.
“Deliver much needed investment to the Weedon Road property.
“Deliver a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere in keeping with a relatively small casino venue.
“Operate in a safer environment, in terms of customer behaviour and safer gambling, by virtue of a smaller floor and in all likelihood a higher management to customer ratio than many other UK casinos.”
Ever-Changing Uses of Ideally Located Bingo Premises
The Beacon Bingo site, Northampton's largest, was originally built to be a supermarket. It was then altered to be used as a ten-pin bowling centre, before being granted planning permission to operate as a bingo club in 1990 and converted to a bingo club.
A Northampton Borough Council spokesman said in the planning documents:
“The site has more than ample car parking to incorporate the parking requirements of the casino use at the site.
“The application proposals would result in a complementary mixed commercial leisure use of these existing commercial leisure premises and this would improve the attractiveness of this local centre and would help to diversify its evening economy and leisure function; ensuring that this area remains vibrant, attractive and accessible to all throughout the day and evening.”
The new casino will include 20 new slots machines, approximately 26 electronic roulette terminals, around seven gaming tables, and a sports bar. The kitchen will be shared with the Beacon Bingo club offering substantial food to both bingo goers and casino patrons.
BingoDaily has reached out to Beacon Bingo Northampton for comment but at the time of press, has not received a reply.