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Number's up for bingo hall

Deal's Regent Bingo Hall
Deal's Regent Bingo Hall
Robin Bloom outside the Regent
Robin Bloom outside the Regent

It was the end of an era at the Regent Bingo Hall in Deal on Friday when the business closed after more than 40 years in the town.

Windows have been boarded up at the distinctive seafront building, the latest victim of the recession.

Devastated managing director Robin Bloom said he had no option but to close the 390-seater hall after it sometimes had only 20 visitors a night.

He said: “We had about 130 people on the last night – if only we could have had these kind of numbers every day.”

Mr Bloom said it really was the end of an era for Deal, and he hopes the building will be back in use again soon. He said: “It is a beautiful but aged building that we have invested more than £1 million in over the past 20 years."

Mr Bloom’s family took over the Regent just after the Second World War, when it was a cinema.

He was the first manager in 1965 and said the bingo hall flourished when employment in the area included the Kent Coalfields, Royal Marines barracks and industrial estates on the Sandwich Road.

Mr Bloom said the business had been hit by online gaming, tax and licence increases, and a new bingo club at Westwood Cross offering bigger prizes.

Fifteen jobs are to be lost as a result of the closure.

The building is owned by the district council and Mr Bloom still has the lease for a few more years.

He said: “We do not have any further plans for the building at present.”

A district council spokesman said: “This is a commercial building and we will be looking for its continued use on those grounds.”

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