Smoking Bans and the Future of Live Bingo Halls

In recent years smoking has become socially unacceptable in most places. When the national smoking ban was imposed in the UK, many bingo players found themselves banished from their favorite bingo halls. Smokers were confined to outdoor smoking shelters and given the intemperate climate in the British Isles smoking shelters were not popular with smokers. The ban hit the bingo industry hard and many bingo halls closed their doors forever due to declining attendance at games. In addition to outdoor shelters bingo operators tried a variety of ways to lure smokers bank to their establishments. One operator even went so far as to offer bingo cruises where smokers could enjoy bingo games outside of Britain’s territorial waters, and others even offered “Bingo Under the Stars.”


Negative Effects of the Smoking Ban

In addition to declining attendance the ban has had other negative effects on bingo halls. Before the ban many smokers would play slot games at the bingo halls but after the ban smokers went outside during breaks resulting in a loss of slot revenues for most bingo halls. At many bingo halls slot revenues account for over half of all revenues. Declining attendance has had a direct effect on the size of the jackpots at most bingo halls. Since fewer players are attending games jackpots have gotten smaller.


Social Internet Bingo

The social side of bingo has always been important to players and bingo halls are seen as a place to go with friends for an evening out. Today many bingo halls are revamping their operations to attract young players. Some clubs plan to offer live entertainment on special evenings. Many of the young players were introduced to the game playing online bingo. Since the imposition of the smoking ban the internet bingo industry has seen amazing growth. In 2007-08 internet bingo sites reported that the number of players almost doubled during that period.  Many new players were skeptical and had viewed internet bingo as a solitary pursuit.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Friends meet up in chat rooms regularly at internet bingo sites and catch up on all the latest gossip while playing. Although some may see chat rooms as a poor substitute for face to face communication for most internet bingo players it works quite well. Some potential players might ask; is online bingo safe? Since most bingo sites serving the UK are licensed by countries that are members of the European Union they must adhere to very strict standards and regulations. All transactions are encrypted for player safety. So far internet bingo has not suffered from any major scandals and playing internet bingo is extremely safe.

Surprisingly internet bingo has been partially responsible for the revival of live bingo in the UK. Internet bingo has generated interest in live bingo and today a majority of players report that they play both live and internet bingo.