THE opening of a new 500-seater bingo hall in Barrow should offer more chances to win big as one lucky Furness player did back in 2000 when he scooped almost £50,000.

Opera Bingo is in the former Kwik Save store on Holker Street, Barrow and run by Workington-based GCL Leisure, which has three other Cumbrian sites.

The other place to play in Barrow is Apollo Bingo, at Hollywood Park, which one of 16 sites for Majestic Bingo.

On Monday June 12 in 2000, The Mail noted that Kieran Hall, who lived in an Ormsgill council flat, was planning a foreign holiday, a home of his own and a new car.

The article said: "The 47-year-old Manchester United fan hit the jackpot at Barrow's Top Ten Bingo, in Hollywood Park, Barrow, three weeks ago and picked up his cheque on Monday night.

"His win on May 19 saw him complete the treble - winning the national prize of £47,500, the regional prize of £2,368 and the house prize of £54."

Bingo manager Craig Lambert said: "It is the highest win we have had since we opened on June 24 last year.

"Everyone here is really happy."

The article noted: "Although he had been to bingo on the odd occasion he was not a regular and called his win 'beginner's luck'."

From the 1960s onwards, several cinemas shared their space with bingo, or fully became bingo halls, as TV and then VHS video hire shops saw fewer people going to the movies.

Examples included the Palladium at Millom, the Roose Pavilion, Walney cinema and the Palace cinema in Barrow and the Roxy cinema at Ulverston.

The opening of the Top Ten Bingo, at Hollywood Park, Barrow, was reported in The Mail on Friday, June 25 in 1999.

It was opened by mayor Cllr Jean Waiting and cost a total of £1.25m to build and equip.

Operations director Bruce Roberts said: "We have responded to our customers' demands and given them a purpose-built modern facility where all age groups can come and enjoy themselves."

The blue, neon-lit club was capable of dealing with a capacity crowd of 800 and offered food and a licensed bar.