The number of visitors to a Hounslow bingo hall are down since last year's smoking ban, bingo bosses have said.

Gala Bingo, in Staines Road, attributed losses of 30 per cent to the legislation banning smoking in public places, which came in to effect in July last year.

Surrender Kumar who has worked at the hall for 18 years, said: "The drop in the number of customers has forced us to stop trading on Sunday afternoons.

"It has had a huge effect on takings because Saturday evenings are no longer as busy as before.

"We have set up a shelter outside for smokers and brought in weekend game promotions."

A study, conducted by research organisation Mintel, revealed the bingo trade would continue to suffer a decline.

It estimated that between 2007 and 2008, the trade would decline by 12 per cent to be worth less than £205billion.

The period 2004 to 2005 showed a 24 per cent increase in trade.

Helen Spicer, from Mintel, said: "The smoking ban has meant that many players simply stay away from bingo halls, or if they do go, they head out during the intervals for a quick cigarette.

"As well as the smoking ban, the Gambling Act of 2005 includes licensing changes that have had a drastic effect on the market.

"If the industry doesn't come up with new ideas, British bingo could soon be a thing of the past."