altMany of you are probably aware of Tombola Bingo – one of the UK’s leading online games sites – and a fair few of you are most likely members too. When you’re playing your favourite games on your mobile, PC, or laptop, it’s all too easy to forget about the people working hard behind the scenes, beavering away to deliver you the very latest technology, new games, exciting promotions, and generous prizes.

Well, now Tombola’s staff are getting a little treat of their own as the company has decided to invest £1m overhauling its Sunderland office. The brand took over the whole of the five-storey building on the city’s riverside two years ago, having already been a tenant for 16 years. 55 employees will shortly be able to enjoy a staff gym, updated shower and toilet facilities, a glass stairwell, and colour-coded walls, tailored to each of the company’s departments. They will also be able to enjoy a meeting area and new ground-floor cafe, where a chef will create drinks, and hot and cold food for both visitors and staff.

Susanne Kennedy, Operations Manager at Tombola Bingo, said that the employees love working in the area, which is “steeped in history” and “has amazing views of the River Wear.” Unable to find another property that beat the one they already have, the company is looking forward to creating a “really exciting new identity” for itself. The new office refurbishment is expected to be completed by early 2013 and hopes to offer its staff “a fun, creative and inclusive place to work”.

The reason behind the expansion into the whole building at Wylam Wharf is due to a 50% increase in Tombola’s technical staff in the last year, with its product development team increasing from 31 to 55. The refurbishment comes after accounts revealed that the company's turnover had rocketed up by 21%, reaching over £26m for the tax year ending 30th April 2011. A key element in the jump in revenue has been the increasing rise in popularity of smart phones and handheld devices, which allow members to play games anywhere, at any time.

According to Dawn-Elizabeth Howe, Head of Marketing, five years ago there were just 12 employees in the development team, but they’ve been heavily investing in the development of their games in-house, and were at one stage recruiting a member of staff each week earlier this year.

The company believes that the recession has actually helped make more eager bingo players visit their website to play, as people have been staying home more. Do you think this is true? Would you rather cut back on going out for meals and drinks in order to still be able to play bingo games?