Accelerating the Growth of Online BingoJune 29, 2008, 10:56 am (8 years ago)
An industry expert, Joe Saumarez Smith says in Bloomberg news that the online bingo industry in Europe is ready for expansion. His opinion is based on statistics in overview of the sector.
According to Phil Fraser of Which Bingo, online Bingo Summit.Britain is the world's most up-growth online bingo market which in 2004, there were only 17 websites and in 2008, holding 243 websites. The number of sites in Spain grew to 40 from six in Spain.
According to a report by BingoPort.co.uk, the U.K. online bingo industry gained GBP 120 million last year on GBP 650 million of revenue, Saumarez-Smith says, there are about 500 000 British online bingo players each month, by the data from the UK Gambling Commission.
Online bingo is not something new. It started in 1995 in the U.S., but with the increase of broadband Internet access, its escalation has been speeded up. According to Cashcade Ltd., owner of Foxy Bingo and Think Bingo, two of the largest privately owned U.K. websites, most of the bingo players are consist of female from 25 year old to 50 year old.
Al Haig-Thomas, chief executive of bingo software provider Virtue Fusion, told Saumarez-Smith that there will be opportunities for progress in Europe during the next one to three years, and in South America and Asia during the next five to eight years.
"We have several clients planning launches in Spain in the next three months and also new sites in Denmark, Sweden and Ireland. All are undeveloped markets that have a history and culture of bingo halls, so you would expect them to follow the U.K. market in terms of growth.'' Haig-Thomas said in an interview.
The UIGEA has had a deadening effect on the US online bingo market, as there is less and less number of operational websites. There is still American bingo players in land based which the fund is donated for charity.
On the opposite side of the Atlantic, ITV plc has been introducing bingo shows on TV such as Bingo Night Live, which is linked to the company's online ITV Bingo.com site which it developed with the Party Gaming plc group. In Sweden, a weekly bingo show has become a great hit among viewers, and a number of industry observers sees it as a great possibilities for growth of bingo in the future.
In recent Bingo Summit conference in London, Warwick Bartlett, chairman of U.K.-based Global Betting and Gaming Consultants, told that online bingo is still somewhat undeveloped compare toInternet casinos and sports betting. "We estimate that by 2012 online bingo will account for 25 percent of the worldwide betting market and deliver profits in excess of $2 billion," he said.
"As broadband penetration increases, people become more conscious about the cost of driving to real-world bingo halls. When they find that they can't smoke when they get there, playing online bingo from home becomes more and more attractive. From a customer point of view it is a great gambling proposition at a very low cost,'' Bartlett said.
Saumarez-Smith takes an objective view of the prediction, concerning the risks and legal restrictions related to gambling in several European countries. He indicates that bingo might not be accepted easily in places where there have been no history of land bingo halls.
"It appears the market is growing at about 3 percent month on month, versus about 10 percent about a year ago. So there is some sign that the economy is having an effect on online bingo. But I would prefer to say that while it may not be recession-proof, those sort of growth numbers suggest it seems to be recession- resistant.'' Phil Fraser of Which Bingo commented.
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