According to the Daily Mail a new Domesday Book has shown that bingo halls are in a state of rapid decline, yet juxtaposition is an almost meteoric rise in betting shops and casinos. The modern take on the ancient Domesday Book highlights effectively the modern changes to towns and cities in the UK over the last decade or so. The new data released by the Government shows that there were 650 high street bingo halls in 1997 and yet that number shockingly has decreased by 29% to the current 2010 figure of 460 bingo clubs. High street casinos on the other hand during the same period have increased by 27% from the 1997 total of 110 to 140 in 2010.
Lap dancing clubs have obviously had a wriggle on
Probably the most depressing increase is the rise in high street lap dancing clubs, which have increased by a massive 1,150% according to the Daily Mail. There are now according to the statistics 300 clubs dotted around the country, this in start contrast to the small amount of clubs that were available in 1997 a fraction of the current figure at only 24. From this sad statistic it would seem the preferred, and largely harmless leisure pursuit enjoyed by millions of women - though equally enjoyable for men - is being gradually eradicated from the high street. The cosy traditional bingo hall replaced instead with a sleazier much less respectable venue, which rather than being accessible to both sexes like bingo halls is aimed almost entirely to a male audience- and some might say actively encourages the exploitation of women.
Higher tax for some and lower tax for others?
When the government next thinks of hiking taxes, rather than target such a soft adult leisure industry as bingo maybe they should consider a sustained attack on the lap dancing clubs. By pushing up the taxes and making this type of venue accessible only to those that can afford it, they might stop the decline of other worthwhile high street leisure clubs. Bingo halls are not the only respectable leisure industry to be hit hard, sadly social clubs have suffered the biggest reduction in numbers over the last thirteen years, down 55% from 21,130 in 1997 to a worrying 11,680 in 2010. It is maybe time for the government to do more to aid the more traditional forms of entertainment like bingo clubs to climb out of the doldrums. Other services that have been badly affected by a large decline in numbers are schools down 10%, swimming pools down 21% and Post Offices down 39%.
What do Bingo Hideout readers think about the increase of less desirable (to some) high street venues? Do you think that lowering taxes for social clubs and bingo halls would reverse the trend? Do you think that lap dancing clubs have a place on our high streets? We would love to hear your comments.