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Feb
15th

Two UK Bingo Halls Closing Every Month

Even more bad bingo news has emerged for land based bingo halls is the UK. Research done by the accounting firm of Ernst & Young has proved what many have long suspected; land based bingo in the UK is in real trouble. So much trouble that in 2010 about two bingo halls a month closed their doors permanently in the UK.  Internet bingo and mobile bingo have outstripped the land based bingo industry in the number of players and profitability. During the past five years the number of land based bingo halls in the UK has fallen from 678 to just 526 and 25 of these closed in 2010.

Live bingo in the UK has been under severe pressure ever since the implementation of a national smoking ban in 2006 which cut the number of players attending live games by about half. Bingo giants Gala and Mecca saw the writing on the wall and launched internet bingo operations to remain profitable. Many bingo clubs are now down to the critical level of 1000 players a week and several bingo halls are on the verge of closing. Club profits have been halved and the number of live bingo players fell from about five million to two and a half million. Bingo ¬Assoc¬iation spokesman Paul Talboys said that bingo clubs can no longer attract players with huge jackpots because of excessive government taxation. He also said that if parliament cut bingo taxes thousands of jobs could be saved.  Tory MP Brian Binley agreed and stated, “Tax ¬policy ¬discriminates against bingo.”

As well as suffering from fewer players many players are choosing to go outside to smoke instead of playing the fruit machines which provide bingo halls with about half of their profits. Fruit machine revenues have declined by about a third at most bingo clubs. In addition to internet bingo mobile bingo has attracted more players putting further pressure on live bingo halls. In addition the huge jackpots offered by internet bingo sites are far larger than what land based operations can afford. Although the National Bingo Game is still up and running fans have fewer places to play the popular and lucrative game.

Some experts say that this year many bingo sites will be adding more interactive features and new technologies further strengthening the strong position of internet bingo games over land based bingo. Land based bingo clubs must come up with some new games and strategies if they are to survive in today’s competitive bingo market.