As if Mecca announcing a string of new closures wasn’t bad enough, it has come to light that an independent bingo hall in Hastings is also going to be closing its doors.
Oddly, there has been very little information given as to why exactly the closure is going ahead, but bingo fans in Sussex will no doubt be very disappointed by the news.
It is all very sudden, with February the 26th being the last day of business when the final balls will be called, and the announcement coming just six days before that date, on the 20th.
I can only guess as to why this is, but with the speed of closure and the fact that all prizes have been based on ticket sales since September last year rather than some being fixed, my best guess is a nasty financial surprise which has left the business unable to continue.
A Bit About the Deluxe Bingo Hall in Hastings
Like many bingo halls, the Deluxe is actually the site of an old theatre and cinema, and this one showed its’ final film in 1965 when the building was converted into the ‘De Luxe Bingo and Social Club’.
That means it has been serving the people of Hastings with bingo games for well over half a century.
In 1970 the bingo hall was moved upstairs to make way for amusement arcades to be run from the ground floor, and it has not been made clear whether these will remain open or not.
The venue has been used as a location for all sorts of attractions since then, from variety evenings to wrestling matches, with its location on the seafront giving the hall an inherent feeling of fun.
With seating for 900 players including a VIP box that holds 60, all of which is fully accessible, it is a huge building, and the architecture is beautiful.
The hall is owned by Coastal Amusements Ltd, but since this company is listed in Hastings it may have been set up specifically to run the bingo hall and have no other business interests.
Let’s hope another bigger company can swoop in and save the place. We can but hope.
Many of the locals have commented of the sad news, sharing memories that highlight exactly what a bingo hall can mean to its community.
There has been no official outlet for this to take place, rather people have commented on social media sites after reading the news.
Hastings resident, Maggie Lewis said:
“We jokingly called the Deluxe my mum’s second home. Bingo would start around 7pm and mum would get there at 5pm to play cards with her friends and have a natter. It was a good evening out, especially if you had a win.”
Another local, Imogen Lade, praised those who work there:
“Going to miss going there, the staff are amazing.”
Another comment cited the rise in online bingo reducing the need for physical bingo halls as a reason behind a possible lack of footfall, but research tends to suggest that online bingo actually benefits the bingo halls, as it appeals to a ‘new breed’ of player who then decide to try the real thing.
Whatever the reason for the closure, a lot of people feel very upset about it, citing the Deluxe as an ‘iconic’ part of the town’s history.