Differing Opinions About the Future of the Online Bingo Industry

Many in the UK bingo industry are somewhat pessimistic and say that the bingo market in the UK is saturated with bingo sites and cannot absorb any more new bingo operations. Currently there are over 300 internet bingo sites serving the UK market alone. Recently it has been reported that some operators of internet bingo games are experiencing financial problems. Amuso.com has been voluntarily liquidated and was less than a year old when it went offline. Amuso cited technical and software issues as reasons for the liquidation. To add to their troubles a major backer withdrew financial support. Barak Rabinowitz, the CEO at Amuso detailed the problems facing the company and stated,  “profits didn’t ramp up as fast as we’d like to cover the overheads so we decided to wind up the company. We had a very healthy community, but we had some technical issues that really hampered the growth of the business and lead to it being wound up. We had issues particularly around the payments, deposit and withdrawal process. You can have the best games but this is really a key point in the chain.”

Bingo provider Buckingham also faces financial difficulties and recent reports indicate that the company may be sold. Buckingham had instituted cost cutting measures earlier in the year which have proved to be insufficient. Buckingham operated both land based and online bingo games across the UK. Recent accounts show the company has about £37 ($58,448,160.94 USD) in debts. The bingo industry is watching developments for both companies closely. Buckingham cited the smoking ban, high taxation and the recession as factors contributing to the company’s troubles.

Despite the reports many in the online bingo industry remain optimistic about the future of the industry. Neill Whyte, Head of Bingo for Microgaming has a different opinion. Whyte stated, “We’ve been involved in this burgeoning market segment since 2008 and now have 8 brands on our network.” Whyte also observed that, “As much as 70 percent of the business is in Europe at present, mostly in the UK.”Microgaming develops and provides games for many well known bingo brands in the UK. Some independent research firms say that online bingo will continue to grow by as much as 30% annually. Whyte believes that the industry needs to listen to players and follow current trends. Whyte stated, “We listen very carefully to what players are saying and what they want,” says Whyte. “We invest in pre-testing and extensive research with the changing demographics of bingo players, which now embrace a younger and more equally balanced gender profile. Bingo players tend to spend less per visit, but play more often and stay longer, providing operators with better life-of-customer longevity.”