As bingo clubs start to feel the hit from the smoking ban which came into force in the UK in July 2007, remote bingo sites are starting to feel the benefit as bingo players make the transition to online bingo gaming.
A complete rethink of bingo club layout, location and promotion may soon follow the smoking ban, as players from one such land based club in Plymouth, UK, recently experienced the full force of the ban as they were moved on by the Police as they sought to smoke a quick cigarette outside the club main doors. The Police did not take kindly to over 100 people smoking on a main road outside the Gala bingo hall and moved them on or back into the club, minus their cigarettes.
The smoking ban may cause land based bingo clubs to rethink how they advertise and promote softer games in between typical bingo games. It may be that players who are itching for a cigarette could be further enticed into playing slots or similar games in order to help ease their tension or to take their mind away from wanting a cigarette.
Whatever the clubs do to try to keep their players, they will have a tough fight on their hands as online bingo at home allows people the freedom to smoke a cigarette while enjoying the benefits of playing bingo and socialising.
The UK Gambling Commission recently released its updated report on remote gambling and this shows an increase in online gambling over recent months. So the future for online bingo gambling looks rosy.
But it may mean that some players are prevented from playing their favourite game altogether. Consider the 55 + year olds whose only weekly pleasure is an outing to a bingo hall, to meet with their friends and have a cigarette and a chin wag. Those of such an age may not be PC savvy and could find it frustrating that they can no longer smoke in the bingo halls and cannot use a PC to play online. Indeed the report by the Gambling Commission shows that of those surveyed only 5% of 55+ year olds had tried some form of remote or online gambling.
The Gambling Commission might be happy that some people will be prevented from gambling as it could potentially reduce the numbers who end up with gambling problems and could paint a prettier picture in terms of the overall numbers spending hard earned cash gambling online.
However, figures just released show that this reduction is not necessarily going to happen as some 9% of those surveyed in the past two months said they had tried some form of online gambling, up 3% on the previous year for the same period.
While online bingo players still lag behind online poker and online betting players in terms of the percentage who have actually tried some form of online gambling, it does show the second biggest increase for the same period from the previous year.
Behind the National Lottery which showed 1% growth in June 2007, from June 2006, online bingo shows a close 0.5% for the same period, thus proving that it has caught up with online poker and betting as a popular form of gambling with less percentage growth. Proving also that people are entrusting online bingo sites as a legitimate gambling form.
So its seems that players are making that transition over to online gambling and with the smoking ban starting to have an effect, online bingo can only benefit from allowing its players the freedom to smoke online, at home, at anytime.
By Morgan Collins
Written by Morgan Collins for Chit Chat Bingo. A bingo games site online for UK players. Links must be retained in reproduction of this article.