Growth in bingo despite a 10% drop in premises

Growth in bingo despite a 10% drop in premises

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
The UK bingo sector has seen a 10.1% drop in the number of bingo halls in the past year.

Latest figures have shown that the UK bingo sector has seen a 10.1% drop in the number of bingo halls in the past year, however the Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) has increased by 4.9% - the first increase for four years.

Statistics from the UK Gambling Commission show that as a whole the UK gambling sector achieved a GGY of £12.6bn for the 12 months from October 2014 - September 2015. This is a 10% jump on the £11.2bn reported for April 2014 - March 2015.

The total number of bingo premises (March 2016) decreased by 10.1% to 599 compared to March 2015, with Gala Leisure by far the biggest operator with 130 premises, although this is down 10% from four years ago. Mecca Bingo, the operator owned by the Rank Group, is the next biggest firm with 91 bingo halls.

The majority of the other licensee holders are those that operate bingo in holiday parks, working men’s clubs and smaller high street venues.

As with most gambling operations, gaming machines make an important contribution to the bottom line in bingo. The average total quantity of gaming machines in British bingo premises was 59,539, an increase of 6% compared to the previous period and growth was seen in all machine categories.

The total GGY from gaming machines in bingo premises was £304.5m, of which Category B3 and Category C machines accounted for 92.3% .

Category C machines, which now have a jackpot of £100, have seen huge growth in bingo halls – jumping from 16,413 in April 11- March 12 to 43,625 in Oct 2014-Spet 2015. However there is a reason the composition of gaming machines in bingo clubs has changed so much in recent years. The introduction and widespread use of electronic bingo terminals (EBTs) by a number of providers accounts for much of the increase in category C machines since April 2011.

In reality the GGY for Category C machines has only jumped 25% in that period to £107.0m.

However the Gambling Commission says that the overall increases in GGY for Category B3 and Category C machines is in part due to a number of operators putting in place better systems to record GGY by category of machine, having previously recorded this detail as a total of GGY for all machines on site.

Online, bingo represents 3% of the UK industry GGY, just ahead of betting exchanges at £128.64m for the period 1 November 2014 to 30 September 2015. Casino and Betting are the two big components of the online industry with market shares of 59% and 34% respectively.

Totally Gaming Says: “A reduction in taxation in the UK bingo sector has no doubt helped the bottom line a little, especially as we have seen the first GGY increase in four years for bingo. Given that land-based bingo accounts for 6% of the £12bn UK gambling market means that it is a sizeable sector and one that should be allowed to grow without punitive taxation.”

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