One of the most divisive rows in UK Bingo history looks set to continue into the new year after lawyers for both Baltic venue Camp and Furnace and Jonny Bongo made their final submissions at Manchester's High Court on Friday 8th November.
A judgment is set to be made over exactly who has the right to hold the ever-popular Bongo's Bingo events in Merseyside.
Covered extensively by the team at BingoDaily, court proceedings between the two parties started in September after a bitter row escalated over the Summer. The Baltic Triangle venue Camp and Furnace want exclusive rights to stage the rave-infused bingo events in Merseyside as well as demanding a share of the profits from Shua Ltd, the company owned and run by Jonny Bongo – real name Jonny Lacey and his partner Joshua Burke.
Mr. Lacey and Mr. Burke initially launched the events whilst Mr. Burke was working at the Liverpool venue. However, Mr. Burke left Camp and Furnace in 2015 to take the Bongo's Bingo event ‘on the road.' Since then, Bongo's Bingo has sold out at venues up and down the country as well as in Dubai, Sydney, and Ibiza.
Neil Berragan QC, representing Camp said that Bongo's Bingo is a Mr. Burke concept and that is not in dispute. He said:
“It's his idea, that is the genesis of this. As it happens there was already a similar event established in London in 2014.
“All that means is it's not an original idea – but an idea therefore that Mr Burke claimed credit for bringing to Camp and Furnace. It was his idea and he who contacted Mr Lacey, and together they worked it up.
“But we had control of events, and he promoted them in his role as our events manager. The equipment was being bought on our behalf, the fuel was bought on our behalf.
“Bongo's Bingo was an entirely new concept. Held for first time at Camp's premises, it was an idea conceived by Mr Burke, and would not have taken place had Mr Burke not provided the idea, and Camp provided the facilities.”
Paul Chaisty QC representing Shua accused Camp of constantly shifting the sands, saying:
“Why would you need exclusivity in Liverpool if you already own the brand?
“They say they own the brand yet none of the emails [provided to the court] are consistent.
“Every opportunity throughout 2015, '16 and '17 to assert ownership, and it's not until they go to see a solicitor, and the solicitors say to them ‘hang on a second, have you never thought about owning the brand? Let's argue that he was an employee'.
“Beyond that, what else did Camp and Furnace do? They contributed nothing towards the artistic value of the event. They are just a venue.”
The continues with a final judgement expected to be made sometime in January or early February.