The shape of British bingo has changed

By tradition, bingo in the UK was always a game played by ladies of a certain age (for which read middle aged – to late middle aged) in smoky bingo halls in mainly working class areas of the country, as well as seaside resorts.

As you may imagine, the shape of the industry has changed beyond all recognition over the last decade due to two main factors; the advent of the internet and the veritable explosion in online bingo – and the country’s ban on smoking in all public places. Put together, these two factors have really decimated the real-life bingo industry – but the game is still going strong in its online versions.

The Grand Cinema / Bingo Hall, 40 Poole by Alwyn Ladell, on Flickr

If you’d told me to look here for bingo even as little as ten years ago, I would have taken you to any major industrial town across the north of England, Scotland or Wales - and told you to take your pick in finding a bingo hall. But today, the British Bingo Association reckons there to be fewer than 400 bingo halls in the country – about half the number there were during the game's heyday. Meanwhile Gamcare, the organisation providing support, guidance and information to people suffering from a gambling problem in the UK says around one in five of its female clients are bingo players, with 70% of these players playing online – whilst just 24% played at traditional bingo halls.

And whilst the old-fashioned real European bingo hall was undoubtedly already in full retreat by the time the UK’s smoking ban was introduced in 2007; that ban really helped signal its near death knell. Until the ban came into force, bingo players could smoke indoors whilst playing with no need to go outside which made the games, the bars and the slot machines busier. And the incidence of smoking generally corresponded with the socio-demographic profile of the country’s traditional bingo hall player.

So it’s little wonder that people are now playing online Bingo and eschewing the traditional bingo halls of old which seem to be hanging on by a thread – mirroring the overall experience of the traditional English pubs which are busy transforming themselves into restaurants and/or closing down at a rapid rate outside London, in particular.

Online bingo sites show that there are many advantages in the online bingo vs the traditional Bingo. I know that one may find places that say the opposite, but I found some items from this source that I surely like to quote: "There are 4 types of online bingo games which are usually played online and offline, players who played it online find it much better then the offline versions".

And this phenomena has been, and is continuing to be, a paradigm shift. Amongst the biggest UK bingo brands, Mecca Bingo now reports, for example, that over 20% of its bingo revenues are online, and this is continuing to grow as a proportion.

Online Bingo Game

But it’s still a predominantly female pursuit; The UK Gambling Commission's 2010 Survey suggests that 12% of all UK women play bingo, compared with 6% of men. In its Bingo section its well written that its a women game.

This growth and the explosion in the number of bingo sites (and the consequent excellent bonus offers etc.) were assisted by the 2005 Gambling Act, which removed strict regulation of the industry, enabling advertising for the first time.

The upshot is that the country has one of the most dynamic, generous and exciting online bingo industries in the world – and the web enables anyone to play in countries where access to bingo sites isn’t restricted.

What will happen next is anyone’s guess; but the British bingo landscape has certainly changed forever.

Its hard to end this article without saying anything about the shape of online roulette and other online casino games. First about the online roulette, its has some improvements like the live roulette and the several options of real money roulette, but one cannot avoid the traditional characteristic of this game. 

We all hope to see some innovative ventures that take the online roulette to a new level, the technology gives many options that can make the difference, things like crowd betting in some number, investment in some player that has luck and more...