A recent BBC investigation found that senior citizens have been losing thousands of pounds to slot machines in bingo halls.
In the last five years, the number of slot machines with higher stakes in bingo halls has increased from 6,226 to 10,014 according to the BBC.
In 2011 there was a change made to the Gambling Act of 2005. This allowed gambling venues to host more slots with increased stakes. The act was altered to help the struggling bingo halls and amusement arcades.
A former general manager at a bingo hall stated that sometimes it felt like legalised mugging. He continued saying that such machines suck customers in and do not let go of them. He shared with us that a wealthy lady spent an entire day on four of their machines and wagered approximately £12,000.
A woman the BBC called Mary, to keep her identity a secret, became addicted after she won £500. The first time she lost a large amount of money she vowed never to bet again, as she felt sick. Unfortunately, at this point, she was already addicted, so she went to the hall regularly and lost approximately £1000 or even £2000 a night leaving empty handed. Mary wanted to continue gambling after the hall closed, so she used her laptop at home. She lost approximately £70,000 on slot machines and £150,000 on bingo. Mary used most of her combined savings with her husband and even stole from him.
Mary said that the hall employees did nothing to help the problem gamblers. They only ask the customers if they would like a drink.
Mecca Bingo claimed: “All customer-facing staff are given responsible gambling training.”
Our team reminds you that bingo is for fun and excitement, if you feel like you or a close one is becoming addicted seek help.