Gambling Commission Overuled In U.k. Bingo Issue

Greene King wins appeal against Commission ruling

The UK brewing company Greene King will soon trial commercial bingo games with its public house clients after winning a landmark appeal against the Gambling Commission.

Greene King, which operates about 1,000 managed pubs, applied to the Commission earlier this year for a bingo operating licence to offer 'linked bingo' – where players can join a national game for big cash prizes via electronic tablets or terminals.

The application was turned down by the Commission, apparently amid concerns that the development of commercial bingo in pubs holds the possibility of opening the floodgates to applications from other companies.

Greene King took the case on appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal, and Judge NJ Warren quashed the Commission ruling and ordered that the application be approved.

On Wednesday a spokeswoman for Greene King said the company was pleased with the outcome of its appeal.

"We are pleased to have been granted an operating licence which, when coupled with a premises licence, will allow us to provide commercial bingo within our pubs. Bingo is a game loved by many of our customers and is already played across the pub estate," she said.

"This ruling will enable us to trial new games with our customers, giving them more choice about where they play the game and put our pubs even more firmly at the heart of their communities."

Rob Willock, editor of leading trade magazine Publican's Morning Advertiser, said the ruling would help the region's pubs be more competitive.

"Greene King's successful appeal does add to the growing list of attractions pubs have to offer," he said.

"Pubs can now boast food as good as any restaurant, coffee that can easily rival a Costa or a Starbucks, an entertainment calendar as busy as any theatre and will now be able to compete with Mecca and Gala for the traditional bingo demographic.

"What many pubs are striving to do is ensure that they have something to offer throughout the day, so perhaps afternoon bingo sessions could be a real winner for pubs in a position to capitalise on this decision."

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