In a surprise announcement, Buzz Bingo, the UK's largest retail bingo operator is to close 26 bingo venues.
The move by Caledonia Investments who own Buzz Bingo is said to be a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
The company said the move will be part of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring deal as it seeks to secure its long-term future.
Buzz Bingo has stated that 91 of its clubs will continue to operate, with plans to start reopening the bingo halls from August 6.
It will need to secure approval from creditors at a meeting on the restructuring proposal on August 3.
The Buzz Bingo clubs to be shut down are
- Antelope Park (Southampton),
- Derby Foresters,
- Edinburgh Westerhailes,
- Milton Keynes,
- Oxford Kassam,
- Stockland Green,
- Wigan Robin Park,
Chris Matthews, chief executive of Buzz Bingo, said: “The ongoing pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for the entire leisure and hospitality sector and an immediate and significant impact on our business.
“Following a thorough review of our options, the proposed CVA will restructure our retail portfolio to ensure we are well-positioned for a return to growth, while adapting to the ongoing, challenging environment as we start to reopen the majority of our clubs.
“The restructure will, very sadly, impact a number of our colleagues and my priority is to support all those affected and keep them fully informed as we continue with this process.
“I would like to thank every single one of our colleagues for their continued understanding and commitment over this period.”
Buzz Bingo was the last of the big bingo operators to announce reopening. Speculation has already been mounting on the fate of a number of Mecca Bingo venues not slated to be opened by October at the earliest.
With smaller venues unable to operate profitably with the social distancing restrictions in place, we can expect the UK bingo news to be full of further stories of venues closing.
12 Buzz Bingo clubs are set to start welcoming customers again from August 6:
- Coventry Savoy;
- Derby City;
- Nottingham Top Valley;
Buzz Bingo currently employs around 3,400 people. However, the closure of the 26 clubs puts approximately 573 jobs at risk.