Fast-forward to 2017 and both industries are going from strength to strength. Latest figures from the Bingo Association show that the number of land based bingo halls is estimated at around 363, with Gala leading the way with 130 followed by Mecca with 87, Top Ten Bingo with 17 and Carlton Clubs with 13. Even the independent bingo hall New Century Bingo in Southampton can accommodate 1,000 seated players, showcasing the strong desire for new and larger venues.
According to Rank’s annual report and financial statements for 2016, a total of 1.187 million customers entered the doors of their clubs, a slight increase of 1% over the previous year, but again another indicator that people are happy to visit their local club to play bingo using their daubers instead of their laptops and mobile devices.
Long gone are the days of those dimply lit venues that used to be decorated with horrible wallpapers and old fashion furniture. In order to provide enhanced entertainment value so they can attract new and younger customers, venue owners have invested millions in their product, environment and services. As a result, people in their twenties, thirties and forties have taken up the game of bingo at their local club as a great night out with their friends. Most venues are now split into two sections, one for people that are simply there to play the game in a peaceful environment, usually the older generation, and another that is buzzing with excitement and laughter, usually occupied by the millennials.
On the other hand, according to a report from the Gambling Commission, it stated that as of March 2016 the total number of remote gambling licenses providing remote gaming to UK based players was 749. Of that, 58 belonged to online bingo operators. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Operators are allowed to offer their services to third parties through ‘white labels’, meaning more bingo sites are available today than ever before. The latest estimate brings the total number of regulated sites to 416.
In the UK, a new breed of business owned primarily by young entrepreneurs, have seized this opportunity in order to recommend potential players the best regulated bingo sites through affiliate marketing websites such as www.bingofind.com. So overall, the online bingo industry has helped people create their own business based on a game that most people love.
So in order to answer our question, how can land based and online bingo coexist, we simply have to look at the smart choices venue owners had to make over the past 5-6 years. They had to shut down underperforming venues in remote areas and develop their product in more high-density areas in order to stand a chance of keeping their business alive. Moreover, the extra investment and upgrade in premises, facilities and equipment has attracted the younger generation that was more inclined to play online than offline.
The online industry shows no signs of slowing down thanks to major advancements in technology and innovative marketing tactics. The creation of mobile apps has enabled players to stay connected even when they are out and about, assuring that online bingo is here to stay for the long haul.