An article published on the Ernst and Young website shows there are winners and losers in the bingo and gambling industry during the economic downturn suffered worldwide this year. Of course there are always winners and losers in all forms of gambling, and the bingo industry is no different. However in the Ernst and Young report entitled ‘Reviewing the market: the 2009 global gaming bulletin’ it shows that rather than the obvious gulf between the bingo or gambling operator and the punter, it is the industry itself that is showing a divide in fortunes.
The online bingo and lottery sector is an area that is experiencing almost a boom time with an increase in revenues being experienced. The Senior Manager of the UK Betting and Gaming Team at Ernst and Young, Jim Bowden believes this to be due to a desire by some individuals to use online bingo and lottery games as a ‘form of escapism’ and a cost effective leisure pursuit. This hypothesis is likely to be true as without doubt it would be cheaper for a bingo player to sit indoors and play a few games than pay the associated costs for travel to a local bingo hall and refreshments. The escapism theory is also a distinct possibility with a desire by the bingo player to create a reversal of fortunes if things are not going particularly well financially at home.
There is a rather obvious loser that can be seen without really thinking too hard about which industry sector might be affected by the changes to bingo player habit. However Ernst and Young puts the downturn in player numbers at UK bingo halls more squarely at the door of the smoking ban. They also believe that it is not only the effects of diminishing player numbers that have taken their toll on the UK bingo hall fortunes but also a drop in gaming machine revenue. This has occurred according to Ernst and Young because those players who would ordinarily play the gaming machines in intervals between bingo games are now leaving the building to smoke meaning a vast loss in important revenue for the bingo halls.
The report goes on to say that ‘Given that many operators in the industry have already taken steps to reduce costs to align themselves to the new regulatory environment, they could be well placed to emerge stronger as the upturn comes’. So hope for Gala Bingo yet!