Bingo players are lamenting the impending closure of Winners Bingo in Bury St Edmunds which will result in 22 job losses.
The bingo club, in Hatter Street, will close its doors for the last time on Sunday night after 20 years in the town, with bosses citing a national decline in such clubs due to falling admissions brought about by the smoking ban and the rising popularity in online bingo.
The lease on the club has also come to an end and bosses at Abbeygate Cinema are exploring the possibility of expanding into the vacant building.
The move is a blow to customers who have hailed the club as a ‘social life-line for many’.
Postman Mick Conroy, 55, of Bury, who has been going for four years, said: “It’s very sad and I feel very sorry for the people who come in from the villages. It’s their one night out and it’s a nice social hub.”
Customer of seven years April Coppings, 64, added: “It’s taking away a huge life line for very many people. We’ve met some wonderful people there. I feel very sorry for the staff.”
A Winners Bingo spokesman said their clubs in Thetford and Wisbech continue to trade normally. At the request of customers, they would operate coaches to the Thetford club. A number of staff had been offered jobs in Thetford.
He added: “Winners Bingo is very sorry to disappoint its loyal customers and staff but thanks everyone for their support over the last 20 years.”
Tony Jones, owner of Abbyegate Cinema, said they could install a large screen in the bingo club space but needed to explore costs to see if the plans were possible.