In the UK, the Telegraph daily newspaper is reporting that online bingo has never been more competitive with the number of players doubling over the past year.
As the British land-based bingo industry struggles with closures caused by a smoking ban, restrictions on $1,000 slot machines and having to pay both a gross profits tax and a value-added tax, the $1.1 billion online sector has never been so competitive. The newspaper quoted figures from the Gambling Commission showing that the number of online bingo players went from 250,000 to 500,000 in the past twelve months across the nation’s 243 registered websites.
The newspaper revealed that revenues from 888’s ‘ladies' bingo’ rose fourfold on the previous quarter following television advertising featuring comedian Vic Reeves.
'Online bingo is booming everywhere,' said Gigi Levy, Chief Executive Officer for 888.
'But it's a mistake to link it to traditional bingo because that's a completely different proposition. Our women are young, above average income and typical Internet consumers. Land-based bingo is about elderly people, smoking and aggressive slot machines.
'People are cutting back on leisure but they are staying home and spending only in the low tens of pounds a month with the chance of winning some extra cash. The beauty of it is there are very low costs and a huge number of players. So, despite low margins, it is very profitable.'
Reporter Rowena Mason wrote that online bingo is now a ‘guilty pleasure among thousands of middle-class, well-off women once the children are packed off to school and the chores are done’.
“One of the attractions of online bingo is that no one need know these players are taking part in a game traditionally reserved for the chain-smoking, wing-wobbling hordes of blue-rinsers that once packed halls across the country,” wrote Mason.