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Bingo - UK - April 2009

Bingo is one of the oldest forms of gambling undertaken in the UK. Traditionally seen as a solidly working class, female pastime and often undertaken by older players, the market has been transformed somewhat in the past decade.

A younger, more affluent crowd of players has been drawn into the market, so that while still a niche activity at heart (between 3-4 million players), it has become a more dynamic market, with increased investment in facilities, games and technology. Unfortunately, this new market dynamism has taken a severe knock since 2007. Legislative changes like the smoking ban and restrictions on gaming machines in clubs, plus the rise of the online version of the game, have led to falling admission numbers and falling revenue from stake money and ancillary activities.

This report examines the current state of play in the bingo market, highlighting the impact of legislative, macro-economic and supply-side factors, as well as the changes in the consumer mindset that shape the market. Market size is assessed, and placed in the context of competitor products. Consumer research gives an insight into the mindset of the bingo player, and suggests new approaches that could help expand the market.

Main issues

  • Has a combination of legislative changes and economic forces cut the legs from under the market?

  • Will demand and club numbers fall in the next 12 months?

  • Could careful targeting and a new approach to marketing see renewed growth once the worst of the recession is over?

  • Will demand once again come back into the market and will this create conditions conducive to expanding the customer base?

  • Will the growth of online bingo pose a serious threat to expanding the core market and undermine the number of club players?

  • For the major players with both online and offline capabilities, will the effects will be minimised (but not eliminated)?

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Main issues
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

            • Online Video Bingo: Reaching the new targets
              • Mintel Inspire
                • Opportunity
                  • Can bingo be retro cool?
                    • Mintel Inspire
                      • Opportunity
                        • Bingo Brain Training: Retaining and building the traditional market
                          • A bingo metro?
                          • Market in Brief

                            • Admission and revenue fall
                              • Figure 1: Bingo club turnover and admissions, 2004-09
                            • A new breed of bingo player, but...
                              • …will online threaten this transformation?
                                • Figure 2: Percentage change in the number of bingo participants in clubs and online, 2006-08
                              • Can only the big boys survive?
                                • Figure 3: Estimated market shares in the bingo club market, year to end March 2009
                              • Some hope for the future?
                              • Internal Market Environment

                                • Key points
                                  • Gambling Act 2005
                                    • Help for smaller bingo operators
                                      • Figure 4: The categories for non-remote bingo licenses, 2009
                                    • More freedom for operators but is the cost acceptable?
                                      • The government offers a partial remedy
                                        • Figure 5: The types of gaming machines found in bingo clubs, 2009
                                      • But what the government giveth, it can also take away
                                        • Remote gambling
                                          • The smoking ban
                                            • Again the government backtracks slightly
                                              • A major blow to the National
                                                • Problem gambling
                                                  • Figure 6: Prevalence of problem gamblers (% of those gambling on an activity in the past year), 2007
                                              • Broader Market Environment

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Looks like trouble ahead
                                                    • Figure 7: Quarter-on-quarter growth of real GDP, Q1 2003-Q4 2008
                                                  • Unemployment the real worry
                                                    • Figure 8: Level of unemployment in the UK, seasonally adjusted, 2006-08
                                                  • Bingo: Luxury or essential?
                                                    • Figure 9: Trends in selected areas of discretionary expenditure, at current and constant prices, 1989-94
                                                  • Normal service not resumed until 2011
                                                    • Figure 10: Forecast of annual growth of real GDP, Q1 2009-Q4 2011
                                                  • Age trends are not too encouraging…
                                                    • Figure 11: Participation in bingo (admission charged), by frequency of play and age, 2008
                                                  • … and socio-economic trends don’t look good either
                                                    • Figure 12: Comparison of bingo penetration and population change, by socio-economic group, 2009
                                                  • Technological innovation to drive the market forward
                                                  • Competitive Context

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • The leisure market: Will bingo hold its own?
                                                        • Figure 13: Consumer expenditure on selected leisure goods and activities, 2003-08
                                                      • Bingo can’t compete with the big boys
                                                        • Figure 14: Gambling activities done in the last 12 months, 2007 and 2008
                                                      • Bingo players tend to spread their gambling pound around
                                                        • Figure 15: Bingo players’ participation in other forms of gambling, 2008
                                                        • Figure 16: Participation in other forms of gambling, 2008
                                                      • Bingo is losing its position in the market
                                                        • Figure 17: Breakdown of UK gambling stakes (%), by sector, 2004-08
                                                      • The bingo club is not the only venue
                                                        • Figure 18: The main venue used, by bingo players to play bingo (% of bingo players), 2009
                                                      • Online bingo: New sector or competitor?
                                                        • A £600 million market
                                                          • Figure 19: The total UK bingo market, by media, year ending March 2008
                                                        • Half a million online players
                                                          • Figure 20: Online vs offline participant numbers, 2006-08
                                                      • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                                          • Strengths
                                                            • Facilities
                                                              • Remote bingo
                                                                • Social dimension
                                                                  • The Gambling Act
                                                                    • Weaknesses
                                                                      • Economic downturn
                                                                        • The smoking ban
                                                                          • Taxation
                                                                            • The Gambling Act
                                                                              • More competition
                                                                              • Who's Innovating?

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Video and server bingo
                                                                                    • Social Bingo guide site launched
                                                                                      • Existing online sites get creative
                                                                                        • Mobile bingo the next “big thing”
                                                                                          • Interactive bingo on the cards
                                                                                            • Bingo goes green, or is that red?
                                                                                              • Offline goes online
                                                                                                • Bingo moves from gaming to betting?
                                                                                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Club revenue slumps
                                                                                                      • Figure 21: Bingo club turnover* (£m) and admissions, year ending March, 2004-14
                                                                                                    • A dramatic revenue slump
                                                                                                      • Fall in admissions drives the market down
                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Bingo admissions, club numbers and KPIs (year ending March), 2004-09
                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Bingo admissions and spend per admission (year ending March), 2004-09
                                                                                                      • Factors used in the forecast
                                                                                                      • Segment Performance

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Taxed stakes pulls club revenue down
                                                                                                            • Figure 24: Taxed stakes, year to March, 2004-09
                                                                                                          • Financial year 2008/09 a very bad year
                                                                                                            • Figure 25: Trends in taxed stake (£m), January 2007-December 2008
                                                                                                          • Interval bingo takes a big hit
                                                                                                            • Figure 26: Estimates split of taxed stake, by bingo game, year ending March, 2007-09
                                                                                                          • Machines and catering fail to plug to gap
                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Club turnover from gaming machines and food and drink, year to March, 2004-09
                                                                                                          • Gaming machine installed base
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: The installed base of gaming machines in bingo clubs, 2004-08
                                                                                                        • Market Share

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • The big two maintain their dominance
                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Estimated market shares in the bingo market, year end March 2009
                                                                                                            • Online market has its own dynamics
                                                                                                              • Figure 30: The UK’s largest online bingo sites, mid-2008
                                                                                                          • Companies and Products

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Gala and Mecca way ahead of the field
                                                                                                                • Figure 31: The largest bingo club operators, by outlet numbers, 2007-08
                                                                                                                • Figure 32: The leading bingo club operators, by turnover, latest data* availbale, February 2009
                                                                                                              • Gala Bingo
                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Key financials for Gala Bingo, financial year to September 2007 and 2008
                                                                                                              • Mecca Bingo
                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Rank Group plc, Mecca Bingo division financial results, 2006-08
                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Rank Group plc, Mecca Bingo KPIs, 2006-08
                                                                                                              • Top Ten Bingo Holdings plc
                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Top Ten Holdings, financial results, 2007-08
                                                                                                              • Carlton Clubs plc: Closes two clubs
                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Carlton Clubs plc, financial results, 2005-07
                                                                                                              • Riva Bingo
                                                                                                                • Buckingham Bingo Ltd: Big losses cause concern
                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Buckingham Bingo Ltd, financial results, 2006-08
                                                                                                                • Bourne Leisure
                                                                                                                • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Advertising spend follows the market down
                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Main media advertising on bingo, year to December, 2004-08
                                                                                                                    • TV and internet led the charge
                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Main media advertising on bingo, by media, 2004-08
                                                                                                                    • Local PR is important
                                                                                                                      • The importance of promotions
                                                                                                                        • Fun is the word
                                                                                                                          • The big online brands dominate
                                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Main media advertising on bingo, by advertiser, 2004-08
                                                                                                                        • Who Plays Bingo?

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Bingo participation down
                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Participation in bingo (admission charged) in the last 12 months, 2002-08
                                                                                                                            • Participation decline led by older players
                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Profile of bingo players (% of players), by age, 1996-2008
                                                                                                                            • Online bingo a serious threat
                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Number of bingo players, by age, 2002-08
                                                                                                                            • The rise of the prawn sandwich brigade
                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Profile of bingo players, by socio-economic group, 1996-2008
                                                                                                                            • Again the internet is undercutting the club
                                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Number of bingo players, by socio-economic group, 2002-08
                                                                                                                            • For all the changes, bingo remains a female, working class activity
                                                                                                                              • Figure 47: Penetration of regular bingo players (%), by gender, socio-economic group and ACORN group, 2008
                                                                                                                            • Social clubs ensure high participation up North
                                                                                                                              • Figure 48: Penetration of regular bingo players (%), by TV region, 2008
                                                                                                                          • Potential Players of the Future

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • A shrinking target market but…
                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Bingo playing habits, December 2006 and January 2009
                                                                                                                              • Still a large target to aim at
                                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Bingo targets, December 2006 and January 2009
                                                                                                                              • Young, single females are prime targets…
                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Bingo targets*, by gender, age, lifestage and marital status, January 2009
                                                                                                                              • But should clubs only opt for the obvious?
                                                                                                                                • The internet and interactive TV: ally and competitor
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Bingo targets*, by TV reception, internet access and internet frequency, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Targets are relatively affluent
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Bingo targets*, by socio-economic group, household income and ACORN group, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Focus on targets who are also gamblers
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: People who don’t play bingo already, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2008
                                                                                                                                • Can the Lottery help?
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Attitudes towards gambling, by gambling activities done in the last 12 months, August 2008
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Activities of people who don’t play bingo already, 2008
                                                                                                                              • Bingo Players and the Smoking Ban

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Over 40% of bingo players smoke
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Cigarette smoking, by regular bingo players, 2002-08
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Cigarette smoking, by occasional bingo players, 2002-08
                                                                                                                                  • Has the smoking ban been good for bingo players?
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Cigarette smoking of regular bingo players, by intensity, 2002-08
                                                                                                                                  • How bad was the smoking ban?
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Attitudes towards gambling, by gambling activities done in the last 12 months, August 2008
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Attitudes towards the smoking ban, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Attitudes Towards Bingo

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Some resistance to electronic games
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Attitudes towards games in bingo clubs, January 2009
                                                                                                                                    • The recession starts to bite
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Bingo players who have recently cut back on bingo spending to save money, January 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Little scope for adjusting jackpots
                                                                                                                                      • An important social element
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 64: General attitudes towards bingo, by bingo playing habits, January 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Beware online and other venues
                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Broader Market Environment

                                                                                                                                        • Age structure of the population
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 65: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, by gender, 2003-13
                                                                                                                                        • Socio-economic structure of the population
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 66: Adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2003-13
                                                                                                                                        • Lifestage structure of the population
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 67: Adult population trends, by lifestage, 2003-13
                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Who Plays Bingo?

                                                                                                                                          • Figure 68: Participation in bingo (admission charged), by demographic sub-group, 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Potential Players of the Future

                                                                                                                                        • Bingo playing habits – detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 69: Bingo playing habits, by demographic sub-group, January 2009
                                                                                                                                        • People who don’t play bingo already – detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 70: Gamblers vs gamblers who don’t play bingo already, by demographic sub-group, 2008
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 71: Most popular activities of people who don’t play bingo already, by demographic sub-group, 2008
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 72: Next most popular activities of people who don’t play bingo already, by demographic sub-group, 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Bingo

                                                                                                                                          • Figure 73: General attitudes towards bingo, by demographic sub-group, January 2008

                                                                                                                                      Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                      • All Star Lanes
                                                                                                                                      • Apple Computer UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                      • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                      • Bank of England
                                                                                                                                      • Barclays Bank plc
                                                                                                                                      • Bingo Association
                                                                                                                                      • Bourne Leisure Group
                                                                                                                                      • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
                                                                                                                                      • British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
                                                                                                                                      • Buckingham Bingo Ltd
                                                                                                                                      • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                                      • Cosmo Bingo
                                                                                                                                      • Daily Express
                                                                                                                                      • Daily Star (The)
                                                                                                                                      • ELSPA
                                                                                                                                      • Gala Coral Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                      • Gambling Commission
                                                                                                                                      • Gfk NOP
                                                                                                                                      • Google UK
                                                                                                                                      • ITV plc
                                                                                                                                      • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                                      • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                      • Office for National Statistics
                                                                                                                                      • Riva Gaming
                                                                                                                                      • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                                      • The Rank Group PLC
                                                                                                                                      • Top Ten Holdings Plc
                                                                                                                                      • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                      • Wm Morrison Supermarkets

                                                                                                                                      Bingo - UK - April 2009

                                                                                                                                      £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)