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Nethergate Mecca Bingo in Dundee Facing Permanent Closure

dundee mecca bingo faces closure
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Bingo players in Dundee will be saddened to learn that the Nethergate Mecca Bingo venue is facing closure. The venue has hosted bingo games since the 1960s, but Mecca Bingo has said that it is making a “difficult decision” about the venue and that it could close as soon as February 25.

The Rank Group, which owns the Mecca Bingo brand, has said that it is undertaking a review of its venues. A spokesperson for the group said:

“Following a review of our venues, a proposal to close our club on Nethergate, Dundee on Saturday February 25 is being discussed. It’s a difficult decision, but we’re in consultation with our teams and hope to reach a final outcome next month. We’ll let our guests know as soon as a decision is finalised. Our nearby club on the Eclipse Leisure Park in Douglasfield remains unaffected.”

Since Mecca Bingo’s presence is one of the top online bingo A-listers, this news may not be a surprise.

An Historic Dundee Venue

The Art Deco building first opened its doors in 1936 and for close to a century, it has remained one of the city’s leading entertainment venues. Originally the Green’s Playhouse cinema, it became a bingo hall in 1968.

Almost 25 years ago, in 1995, the venue was destroyed by a fire, leaving only the famous advertising tower behind. However, a bespoke Mecca Bingo venue was designed and it opened in 1997.

It is not known what would happen to the building if the closure goes ahead. However, in 2022, plans were published by Wilson and Gunn Architects for a 10,000-capacity arena on the site. It would house restaurants, bars, and a 70-room hotel. However, the plans have not developed since.

Hope after Strong H1 2023-24 Results

There may still be hope for the Dundee Mecca Bingo hall as the Rank Group reported returning to a profit in the past half year as more players returned to its venues. In its half-year results, net gaming revenue grew by 7% to £362.6 million. In comparison, revenue for H1 in 2022-23 rose just 1.6% year-on-year.

Its Grosvenor venues brought in the most revenue, £167.5 million, up 10.1%, and the second highest revenue came from the group’s digital division, £108.4 million, up 7.5%.

Revenue from Mecca was up 8.5% at £67.2 million. The company noted that it has closed 20 loss-making venues since reopening following the pandemic in May 2021. One venue closed in the last half year, meaning there are now 55 active venues. According to Rank, the closures were carried out in order to encourage customers to visit more popular venues.

While there are no guarantees about the Dundee venue, overall visits to Mecca Bingo halls were up 2% and spend per visit was up 7%.

Speaking about the results, John O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Rank Group, said:

“After what has been a very challenging few years for Rank due to a wide range of external macro factors, we are starting to build revenues and, with our strong operational leverage, we are improving our profitability, with the Group delivering revenue and operating profit growth across all businesses.

We are well positioned to optimise the opportunities afforded by the UK Government’s planned land-based regulatory reforms which will hopefully be implemented through the passing of secondary legislation in the summer of 2024. These reforms cannot come soon enough in enabling us to modernise our proposition to better meet our customers’ expectations.”

Strong Digital Performance

O’Reilly said that they expect to see a dampening of digital growth in the UK in the short term due to new regulations, such as a maximum bet size for online slots. However, he added that they “are confident in the opportunities of delivering a market-leading cross-channel experience for our Grosvenor and Mecca customers.”

As such, while the Dundee venue may be under threat, Mecca Bingo’s online offering is going nowhere. Recent months have seen a number of exciting developments at Mecca Bingo, such as the furthering of its partnership with the popular television show Loose Women, and all the signs suggest that online bingo players have plenty to look forward to in the coming months.

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Mike Bennet
Author: Mike Bennett
Dedicated to keeping the spirit of bingo alive. I think bingo sites translate tradition into a modern context and I aim to provide our readers with the latest from the world of online bingo, including industry news, launches, and promotions.

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