Number of UK bingo premises declines but sector remains positive

Number of UK bingo premises declines but sector remains positive

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Posted by Michael Lawson
The number of bingo premises fell by 8 from March, but capital investment is growing.

The latest UK betting industry statistics were published by the Gambling Commission last week, and detailed a 1.4% decrease in the number of British bingo premises.

The figure sat at 583 for bingo premises in the UK (131 Gala, 87 Mecca and 365 independents), down eight from March.

However Bingo Association Chief Executive Miles Baron made it clear that there were a number of positives to take from the findings. He told TotallyGaming.com: “The retail bingo industry in Britain is seeing the greatest level of capital investment that it’s seen for some time.

“Mecca has also just opened three new boutique bingo outlets - a concept called Luda - which are smaller, coffee shop-style bingo premises. They talk about closures but they never tend to talk about all the good things that are happening.”

Nevertheless, Baron conceded that retail bingo in the UK has been experiencing some issues. “Retail bingo is generally finding life difficult. There is a lot more to it - under the surface, behind the scenes and under the water - but there is a structural decline in the industry.

“Quite often some of the businesses that close don’t close because they’re not doing particularly well, some close because leases come up for renewal, sometimes they close because they’re in tired, older traditional businesses and they just need to transition into more modern premises.”

NRM Group Managing Director Andrew Ludlow added: “There are various reasons behind this decline, the continuing increase and popularity of online bingo, a declining core consumer base, pressure on the retail gaming leisure pound and a product offer that has yet to fully deliver a compelling proposition that appeals to Millennials as well as traditional bingo customers.

“However, the bingo sector has proved itself to be resilient and a number of operators are showing a better than sector average performance through investment in product and service delivery, technology and content innovation. There doesn’t appear to be a ‘silver bullet’, but engaging customers  with appropriate investment in these areas is showing there is some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Totally Gaming says: The small decrease in the number of bingo venues in the UK obviously isn’t ideal for those within the industry, but that’s clearly only one side of the story. As Miles Baron notes, there could be a number of reasons for these premises closing and there’s no need to be pushing the panic button just yet.

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