After the smoking ban came into force in the UK and heavier taxation of Section 21 machines was made law, live bingo seemed to suffer a blow from which industry experts say it has never truly recovered. As a result, the last 15 months have seen live bingo lose a massive 51 clubs, bringing the national number of bingo halls down to less than 600.
It has been announced however, that the minister responsible for sports and gambling, Gerry Sutcliffe is expected to announce reforms to redress this shift in the world of live bingo within the next couple of weeks and that these reforms will be 'positive' for the world of live bingo.
Due to be announced over the next few weeks, there is plenty of speculation as to what the reforms will be, but the majority of opinion seems to agree that he will lift the current restrictions on the number of £500 jackpot machines that each bingo hall is allowed to run. These restrictions were put into place last September and have had a dire impact on revenue for live bingo halls, which was already failing on account of heavy taxation and the smoking ban.
While bricks and mortar bingo halls continue to create new promotions to keep the number of players coming in, the number of online bingo players is rising sharply with a 19% increase seen in the last six months alone. Bingo has become a huge online industry and is fast becoming a shifting media in its own right at the moment with new availability in television and mobile games having come online in recent months too. These new media are certainly exciting and help all of us to access our favourite game whenever we like. However, are these new media a response to the decline of the bingo hall or are they helping to sink it?
Do you play live bingo?
Join our forum and let us know if you enjoy playing bingo in the local hall as well as online. Let us know what you think can be done to help reverse the current decline of live bingo. We are very interested to hear from you especially if you have become an online bingo player as a direct result of a bingo hall closure or because of the smoking ban.
Bingo Hideout will be keeping you up to date with the reforms as they are announced, as they not only affect live bingo but will also have a knock-on affect on online bingo in the long run.