Online, Land-Based Bingo Alliance Not Likely

Most trade groups and industries have their own business associations to represent their interests. Many of these groups maintain active lobbying organizations to protect their industries from overzealous government regulation and taxation. BACTA, which was formed way back in 1974, well before the internet gaming industry was even thought of has represented the interests of UK gaming interests. On their website BACTA says their purpose is to lobby government on new bills affecting the British amusement industry, self regulation of the gaming industry, provide advice and information to members and other activities related to the British gaming industry. Many in the industry believe that an alliance between the land based and online bingo industry would be mutually beneficial and create a ‘united front.’

Creating a united bingo front has proved difficult as many in the land based bingo industry are less than enthusiastic about forming an alliance with online bingo operators not located in the UK. Most industry experts believe that for such an alliance to be successful there would have to be some sort of licensing and regulation of bingo providers located offshore. In the past some have proposed an online bingo association but since offshore bingo operators are not in any big hurry to see their industry subject to government regulation and taxation the formation of such an association seems unlikely at the present time.

Most industry observers believe that at some point in time licensing and regulation will be imposed on offshore bingo operators and should that happen offshore operators will probably be amenable to joining organizations representing their interests. The recent resignation of UK gaming giant Praesepe plc illustrates the fragmentation of the gaming industry both land based and online. Praesepe plc owns several adult gaming centres and the largest bingo club in the UK. BACTA president Neil Chinn said that effective lobbying is not possible if the industry is fragmented into several factions.

At present the Bingo Association represents the interests of land based bingo clubs. Most expect that in the very near future the internet bingo industry will have its own trade association but most believe the two groups will not merge in the near future. Present conditions find both industries with conflicting interests and goals. The land based bingo industry in the UK is engaged in a struggle for survival, while the industry of internet bingo games is thriving. Unfortunately at the present time an association composed of the two groups is highly unlikely and this is truly unfortunate for both groups.