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Pandemic Takes Its Toll on British Bingo Chain

The well-known UK bingo club operator Carlton Bingo has reported a significant slump in its profits over the past 12 months. According to its latest annual accounts, its turnover dived by over £12 million.

Carlton Bingo, which has its headquarters in Inverness, Scotland, says that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit it hard.

Like many other businesses operating in the hospitality and entertainment industries, the company was forced to shut its venues during the various stages of lockdown.

Since publishing its latest annual accounts, it has become apparent just how much businesses of this nature have suffered due to COVID.

We already knew that Buzz Bingo had been adversely affected after it announced in July 2020 that it had no option but to close 26 of its UK bingo halls.

For a while, it looked as though Carlton would be forced to go down the same route after its Dunfermline club failed in its campaign to get the Scottish government to give it financial assistance. Luckily, the venue has since been able to reopen, and it even got to celebrate one of its players scooping a £50,000 jackpot this summer.

The fate of the company’s Dumbarton club was not so good, and it was closed after the management decided that trading was no longer “viable under continued restrictions”.

What do the figures say?

The reported turnover for the year to 28th March 2021 dropped by over £12 million while its pre-tax profit also became a pre-tax loss. The report that accompanied this year’s accounts explains that some of Carlton’s venues were only able to open for 44 days during the affected period. However, it also says that the company managed to make “a reasonable profit” despite having to enforce various in-club restrictions to comply with social distancing measures.

What happens next?

For now, Carlton Bingo is concentrating on trying to get its finances back on track, which means that it won’t be making any changes or major developments for now. It says it will continue “to focus on customer service” and protecting its cash flow.

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