BINGO hall bosses hope it won't be "13, unlucky for some" when councillors discuss an application for a smoking shelter.

Rank Gaming Group, which operates the Mecca bingo hall in Fishergate, York, has submitted a planning application for a bus shelter-style smoking area at the front of the building.

The shelter, which would measure 25 square metres and take up two car parking spaces, would be built out of aluminium.

Dan Waugh, director of investor relations at Rank, said: "The reason we've applied for this is that there is a smoking ban coming into effect in July and we want to make sure our customers who smoke are able to enjoy their bingo in comfort."

Mr Waugh confirmed Rank is concerned about what affect the ban will have on business. Mecca bingo halls have around 1.1 million customers nationwide and, on average, between 45 and 50 per cent of them smoke.

In Scotland, where the smoking ban was introduced last March, Mr Waugh said in the first eight months there had been a 15 per cent drop in revenue year-on-year.

He said: "Over the past year in Scotland we've been trying to understand why we're being impacted. It's not as much about people not coming but people going outside smoking and not playing bingo.

"We expect to be better prepared in England but, even so, it's a major concern for the business."

He said the drop in revenue has come because at the end of each half-hour session of the main game there is a 20-minute break.

Most smokers use this time to have a cigarette and this stops them playing smaller bingo games which take place during the interval.

A spokesman for Clifton Bingo And Social Club declined to comment about the situation.

Rank's application for a smoking shelter mirrors what pubs in the city have also been doing.

As reported in The Press recently, the Bootham Tavern, in Bootham, has applied for permission to install an awning at the front of the pub and others are expected to follow suit.

There have also been warnings some licensees could go bankrupt because of the new regulations.