Past Times: Public opinion says “No bingo”

From The Shetland Times, Friday 13th October, 1961

Thanks to pubic opinion there will be no commercial bingo played in the Planets Ballroom this winter – and the ballroom proprietors have been publicly commended by the provost for their action in turning down a monetary gain.

Last Friday The Shetland Times carried an advertisement from Shetland Entertainments Company, owners of the Planets, stating they had been asked to let their hall for bingo sessions. Before making a decision they wished to know what local public opinion was.

They were left in no doubt. Over the weekend about a hundred communications were received – every single one of them asking the company not to let the hall for bingo. On Sunday, most of the town churches had petition sheets available for signatures at the doors, and the ministers concerned made reference to it – in varying degrees of vehemence.

Eventually the petition sheets signed by members of the St. Columba’s, Baptist, Methodist, and Congregational Churches bore a total of about 500 names. The petition thanked the company for the opportunity to express an opinion, but advised against them allowing the use of the hall for bingo.

By Monday night the tally was, therefore: Against, about 600; for, nil. In view of that the company decided that they would not grant the hall for bingo – the application was from promoters outwith Shetland , who, it is understood, are already operating successfully in Stornoway and Orkney. In Orkney the club is known as the Pentland Bingo Club, operating at Scapa Cafe. Free buses run to Scapa from Kirkwall.

At Tuesday’s Town Council meeting. Provost R. B. Blance congratulated the company on the responsible manner in which they had dealt with the request for the use of their hall.

In refusing to let it for gambling purposes the company might have lost some material benefit, but they had gained something much more important – public respect.

Provost Blance hoped that any other person in Shetland who received an offer for premises for this purpose would make note of public opinion, and have nothing to do with this current craze, which could serve no useful purpose whatsoever.

The other councillors endorsed the Provost’s remarks.


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