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Manchester bingo hall hits jackpot as £2.7million gambling revamp plans announced

By Andrew Nowell, Amy Senior, Joe Cummings and Adam Green

Gambling giant Rank have announced a revamp of some of their Manchester venues as part of a £2.7million Northwest upgrade.

Sale’s Mecca Bingo hall and the Grosvenor casinos in Salford and central Manchester will be refurbished.

A spokeswoman for Mecca Bingo confirmed work would last around one month and the re-launch of the improved hall will take place in June.

The hall will remain open throughout the revamp.

Partington resident Lisa Alverado, 29, who plays at the hall regularly, welcomed the refurbishment.

She said: “They need to because it’s awful and very run down.”

Mrs Alverado suggested reducing the cost and installing heated seats as ways of attracting customers to visit more frequently.

Bingo companies confirmed they are looking to broaden their customer base.

Sarah Mercer, Communication Manager for Gala Coral, which owns 144 bingo clubs, said: “We are always looking at new opportunities.”

She added that these included reaching out to younger people.

Bingo has traditionally been regarded as a pastime for the working classes and females.

However, market research agency Mintel reported in 2009 a younger and more financially secure customer is on the rise.

The report also said the market is very dynamic, with better bingo games and technology being introduced all the time, and increased investment in facilities.

Rank’s announcement coincided with the latest release of the Gambling Commission’s British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010/11, detailing a further rise in public gambling.

James McLarin, Media and Communications Coordinator for GamCare, stated that: “We believe approximately 60,000 12-15-year-olds have a problem with their gambling in the UK.”

He added that GamCare estimate a rise in reported gambling problems of 0.6-0.9% in the population as a whole since 2008.

Gamblers Anonymous Manchester are available for help, support and advice on 0161 976 5000.

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