Online Bingo Shows No Sign of Slowing Down in the UK

Written by:
Payton
Published on:
Aug/23/2017

Those who enjoy the more adrenaline based games will often be the first to turn their nose up when they hear the words "online bingo" uttered. But the facts don't lie - online bingo remains big business and the industry has enjoyed exponential growth over the last few years, with Mecca Bingo operator Rank Group reporting a jawdropping 23% jump in first half profits alone back in 2015. According to the UK Gambling Commission, the number of people enjoying online bingo has risen from 50,000 to 300,00 in the last few years, with an estimated £6.8 billion spent every year by UK Users alone.

The relaxation of rules surrounding slot machines has had a prominent impact on the industry. A recent article by the BBC revealed that higher stake slot machines found in bingo halls have tripled during the last five years, with slot machines reportedly amassing a total of £304m alone last year for bingo companies. In 2011, the government relaxed the rules around such machines in licensed bingo establishments. Companies are now allowed an unlimited number of higher stake slot machines by license providing they don't exceed 20% of the total gaming machines on each physical site.

While staff is now trained to recognize addictive behavior and with self-exclusion orders now being commonplace in most establishments, anti-gambling campaigners say that they would still like greater protection for players and the UK Government has now launched a review of the law surrounding gaming machines including those found in bingo halls and full recommendations are expected sometime later this year. While the Gambling Commission has refused to comment on an ongoing investigation, a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed that the review will include high stake B3 category machines, which often only take bank notes.

ICE Totally Gaming is the world's largest B2B gaming event and true to their "totally gaming" pledge, had the 2017 conference, held in February 2017, feature an area dedicated exclusively to the bingo sector. The 220 square metre Ice Bingo pavilion was situated in S9 at London's Excel center with Miles Baron, Chief Executive of The Bingo Association, saying of the development "As an industry we have a long history and while the leisure landscape and technology keep evolving, there is, and I think there will always be, a need and space for community based activities that bring people together". 

In a similar fashion, The 2017 Online Bingo and Slot Summit recently took place at London's Hippodrome Casino. The event features professionals from all over the sector and included a number of sessions and covered a number of topics including data analytics, bonusing strategies and innovation with regards to the future of the online bingo industry. Mike McDougall, who is the Organic Search Director of Sticky Eyes, spoke at the event and went on to point out that users now simply search via non branded keyword such as "online bingo" and that the key to success now included keeping users on your site by engaging and delighting them, as well as making online games faster on all mobile devices. 

Keynote speaker for the event and SVP of commercial development at Dragonfish, Yaniv Sherman, commented on the state of the online slots and bingo industry at the event. Sherman went onto explain that one of the biggest challenges that companies lies within gaming on mobile devices and that with this currently being the most popular platform for users to enjoy online bingo, operators must figure out how best to utilize a small screen in order to compete with popular gaming apps such as the classic Candy Crush, which make use of appealing graphics and bright images.

Elsewhere, Europe's biggest online operator, Tombola HQ, looks set to start construction on their new £6 million headquarters in Sunderland, which will feature offices, a cafe and even a gym for staff members. The expansion of the largest Bingo provider in the UK only serves further to reflect the growth of the market. Tombola was founded in 2000 is also the leading online bingo provider in Spain and Italy, with offices in both Gibraltar and Milan and is also looking to expand into Asia and beyond within the next few years.

As a game which is already increasing significantly in popularity, online bingo doesn't set to be slowing down anytime soon. The next few years look set to be interesting for the industry and the further advancement of technology, most experts agree that innovators should focus on properly adapting bingo to mobile devices in order to attract a newer generation of players.  Moreover, new regulations are set to be put in place with regards to advertising so it may well be a case of "wait and see" for both the players and industry giants with regards to where bingo will find itself with the next few years. 

 

 

 

 

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