Bingo – UK – April 2009

Abstract

Two years on - How has the smoking ban impacted the Bingo industry? Bingo is one of the oldest forms of gambling undertaken in the UK. Traditionally seen as a solidly working class, female pastime and often undertaken by older players, the market has been transformed somewhat in the past decade. A younger, more affluent crowd of players has been drawn into the market, so that while still a niche activity at heart (between 3-4 million players), it has become a more dynamic market, with increased investment in facilities, games and technology. Unfortunately, this new market dynamism has taken a severe knock since 2007. Legislative changes like the smoking ban and restrictions on gaming machines in clubs, plus the rise of the online version of the game, have led to falling admission numbers and falling revenue from stake money and ancillary activities. This report examines the current state of play in the bingo market, highlighting the impact of legislative, macro-economic and supply-side factors, as well as the changes in the consumer mindset that shape the market. Market size is assessed, and placed in the context of competitor products. Consumer research gives an insight into the mindset of the bingo player, and suggests new approaches that could help expand the market. Main issues: Has a combination of legislative changes and economic forces cut the legs from under the market? Will demand and club numbers fall in the next 12 months? Could careful targeting and a new approach to marketing see renewed growth once the worst of the recession is over? Will demand once again come back into the market and will this create conditions conducive to expanding the customer base? Will the growth of online bingo pose a serious threat to expanding the core market and undermine the number of club players? For the major players with both online and offline capabilities, will the effects will be minimised (but not eliminated)?

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