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Mobile Growth And The Bingo Hall Fightback

Since the early 00’s online bingo has been on the rise. Early adopters such as Gala and Mecca have used the increase in popularity of online bingo to offset the decline in their bingo halls. Since then, other companies including charities and supermarkets have begun to open their own online bingo sites in order to get a piece of the action. Site such as Two Big Ladies have even opened to help new and existing users shop around for the best new deals.

For many companies, it was a case of figuring out why online bingo was attracting such a high number of users compared to the bingo halls. Companies such as Gala bingo found that people enjoyed playing online when it was part of a wider social site that allowed them to chat with friends and earn rewards. Learning from the success of social media sites such as Facebook and Zynga (the creators of Farmville) bingo sites added in chat functions and rewards to entice their gamers away from their competitors.

This development has led to improvements back in bingo halls too, Mecca recently piloted a fully electronic bingo hall in Edinburgh with over 500 terminals which was relatively successful. For many bingo hall owners, the question is how to entice customers back to their halls whilst keeping them online. The situation is quite similar to bookstores which lost huge swaths of customers when the likes of Amazon opened in the late 90’s. For them it was a case of enticing their customers back with special events such as book signings. Excellent customer service was also something bookstores focused on - something online sites find it hard to compete with. In order to survive bingo halls have begun to improve too, expanding their food offerings, opening later and refurbishing the halls are just some of the changes that’ve been made.

Whilst new innovation, new investment and the reintroduction of the national game have been good for bingo halls. The issues that originally led to the closure of almost 50% of the UK’s bingo halls remain, the smoking ban particularly was a huge hit for the industry which many businesses admit cost them dearly. With smoking in younger generations much lower, bingo hall owners are hoping to entice a younger crowd who were previously put off by the smoked filled rooms.

For online bingo, the market continues to grow with new companies sprouting up every day offering customers a more specific choice to suit their needs. As the prices of tablets and mobile handsets that support bingo apps continue to fall, people will find it easier to play online bingo whilst participating in normal family life at home. In the early 00’s online bingo players would have to connect using a bulky desktop computer, often kept in rooms away from the main areas of the home which held the growth of the industry back.

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