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					BINGO LINK
 The only magazine produced for the UK Bingo Industry
 Online bingo
 Jackpot fever as prizes rocket
                                                             Legislation
                                                             Gambling Act update
                                                                                                                          Issue 77 April 2007
                                                                                                            Bingo for Breakthrough
                                                                                                            Celebrating a record success




  Actress Linda Robson takes a
  defiant stance on the threat
  facing bingo




Stop destroying my bingo!
2
       007 is set to be one of the most             rates in the gambling industry, a burden that is      it currently has under the 1968 Gaming Act. For
       challenging years in living memory for the   increasingly difficult to bear.                       bingo this promise is not set to be delivered on,
       bingo industry, with some of the most           If bingo is to compete fairly in the leisure and   as increases in licence costs and removal of
radical changes in 39 years taking place. Such      gambling market, then its level of taxation           Section 21 games are set to increase costs of
changes should ideally present a wealth of          should not see it unfairly disadvantaged. This is     operation and reduce the scope of a crucial
opportunity, but due to the time frame and          clearly not a view that has been held by the          revenue stream, further challenging the
nature of the changes taking place they             Treasury to date, which seems determined to           commercial viability of many clubs.
present a very real threat to the future shape of   allow this situation to continue, despite its             The issues facing clubs are all set to be
the industry.                                       ultimately dire consequence for bingo operators,      played out against the backdrop of a ban on
   The issues conspiring against the industry are   clubs and players.                                    smoking in public places, which was introduced
not consumer led, but driven by legislation, both      In addition to the ongoing burden of an unfair     in Scotland last year, in Wales earlier this month
existing and new.                                   tax regime, changes due to come into effect           and will come into effect in England in July.
   The industry has operated for a considerable     under the new Gambling Act will further burden            The ban was supported by the industry
time under an unfair tax regime that requires       the industry, while offering very little by way of    on the ground of the nations’ health,
bingo operators to pay VAT, while other sectors     the benefits initially outlined in the Budd Report    however, operators with clubs in Scotland
of the gambling industry do not. The combined       of 2001. It was promised in this report that no       are all too painfully aware of the extreme
tax rate sees bingo paying one of the highest       sector would have less under the new Act than                                     continued on page 8
                                                                                   news

The National Game
                                                                                                                                                             Diary
                                                                                                                                                             Dates                   
Quarterly news and update from Chief Executive Paul Talboys                                                                                                  25 April
                                                                                                                                                             The Bingo Association and
                                                                                                                                                             National Bingo Game


2007 is a year of change
                                                                                                                                                             Association AGM,
                                                                                                                                                             Queen Elizabeth II Conference
                                                                                                                                                             Centre, London. Contact
                                                                                                                                                             Donna Black: 01582 860921,
Our traditional Mothers’ Day                      to be done, software and                       industry to take advantage of                               donna@bingo-
special game has already taken                    hardware development and roll                  stake retention under the new                               association.co.uk
place and due to adverse                          out, in addition to yet more                   Act, at both club and national
weather conditions in some areas                  consultation documents.                        level, is currently on schedule.                            25 May
of the country we narrowly                            In readiness for a radically               We will share further details with                          Gaming Investor
missed making our target                          different and exciting new                     you as soon as we can.                                      Conference,
National prize of £500,000. It is                 National Bingo Game                               Meeron has now signed its                                Guoman Tower Hotel, London
sad that we did not reach this                    post-September and for the                     agreement with leading online                               Contact Clarion ATE,
target as it will be the last game                heightened seasonal dips in                    bingo provider, Virtue Fusion, to                           www.ateonline.co.uk/gi
of its kind to take place under                   admissions the industry is facing              form Bingo Networks Alderney,
existing/old legislation. Mothers’                this year, some interim revisions              (see page 17) that initially will                           1 July
Day 2008 will present us with a                   to the National Game ticket price              offer operators the opportunity to                          Ban on smoking in
far broader range of promotional                  and prize fund and structure are               develop an online bingo presence                            public places introduced
options, courtesy of the                          due to be implemented next                     easily and securely and will then                           in England
Gambling Act 2005.                                month. These changes will see a                seek to explore how NBGA and
   We are already a third of the                  more logical ticket price across               Meeron members can exploit and                              October
way through the year and various                  the week and will put more prize               benefit from existing relationships                         Bingo For Breakthrough
countdowns to change have                         money back on individual club                  in an online environment.
started – countdown to new                        boards, by way of an increased                    Later this month, we also have                           Please remember to notify us of
legislation, countdown to                         house prize. Players are                       our AGM at the Queen Elizabeth                              your events so we can include
smoking ban (only England left to                 notoriously resistant to change                II Conference Centre in London,                             them here. Email us at
go) and a countdown to new                        and it is important that these                 which I hope you will be able                               bingolink@bingo-asociation.co.uk
possibilities for bingo and the                   changes are presented positively.              to attend.
National Bingo Game. In                           This, of course, is in readiness for
preparing to meet challenges and                  the use of stake retention for the
opportunities arising from these
changes, there remains a
significant amount of groundwork
                                                  first time in the UK.
                                                      The process of developing the
                                                  JLS software that will enable the
                                                                                                     Bingo in the media
                                                                                                     The final quarter of 2006 continued the trend of Q3, showing an increase
 National Bingo Game: key statistics                                                                 in media coverage, ending the year on a record high of 1,883 pieces.
                                                                                                     November 2006 proved to be exceptional, providing nearly double the
 Total prize money since the game began                                        £93,872,397           quantity of coverage for the same month in 2005.
 Total prize money played for in 2007 until 31 January                         £4,626,506               Press coverage arising from the new NBGA television commercials
                                                                                                     provided increased opportunities and the national final of NBGA Caller of
 Biggest games for 2006                                                                              the Year also provided additional opportunities.
                                                                                                        The most significant difference this quarter is the increase in electronic
 Thursday 26 January with ticket sales of                                           896,752
                                                                                                     coverage ie. stories and editorial published on websites. While there has
 Thursday 26 October with ticket sales of                                           859,044
                                                                                                     always been a smattering of coverage arising from this area, we are finally
                                                                                                     starting to see it outstrip even regional publications as an opportunity for
 Biggest game to date for 2007                                                                       coverage. This trend is one that is likely to continue as a prominent
                                                                                                     feature of media coverage, as more and more people read online.
 Saturday evening 17 February with ticket sales of                                 £757,026

                                                                                                        Number of press hits by month

BINGO LINK is published by The Bingo Association, Lexham                                                                                 October             November                December
House, 75 High Street North, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 1JF.                                          Consumer press                            6                     11               0
Tel: 01582 860921. Fax: 01582 860925.                                                                  Electronic media                         86                     25              20
Email: bingolink@bingo-association.co.uk
                                                                                                       National press                           16                      9               9
Editor: Steve Baldwin
                                                                                                       Regional press                          161                    139             112
Produced by Associa Ltd, North Gate, Uppingham, Rutland LE15 9PL.                                      TOTAL                                   269                    184             141
Tel: 01572 824600. Email: (editorial) christine.moss@associa.co.uk                                     Quarter 3 total: 594                                           Year to date: 1,883
Email: (advertising) Sally Wilkinson: sally@rose-media.co.uk                                           The busiest regions for coverage have been Northern Region (13 per cent), North East
Tel: 01427 668662.                                                                                     Region (11 per cent) and Scotland (15 per cent) for each month respectively.
                                                                                                          The increase in electronic media has also impacted on the region delivering the most
Reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited without the permission of the publishers.
                                                                                                       coverage. As online material is held to be available nationally, it will be no surprise that for
Views expressed are not necessarily those of The Bingo Association or Associa Ltd. Prices
                                                                                                       each of the three final months of 2006 that ‘nationally available’ was the section delivering
and information correct at date of publication but subject to change.
                                                                                                       the greatest quantity of coverage overall.




                                                                                                 2
                                                            news
                                    Sharon and Gala raise
                                    cash for Comic Relief
                                   C
                                              elebrity Sharon Osbourne helped      important role in helping transform the lives
                                              Gala Bingo raise more than           of people living with poverty and social
                                              £150,000 for Comic Relief at the     injustice. I hope bingo lovers and those of
                                    first Comic Relief bingo game at Surrey        you who are new to the game continue to
                                    Quays Gala.                                    help us raise as much money as possible.’
                                       Sharon said: ‘I am delighted Gala              Red Nose fun went on throughout
                                    Bingo invited me to be its ‘Big One’ bingo     the 170 Gala Bingo clubs nationwide
                                    caller. I love bingo; what’s more I’m a huge   in the run-up to Red Nose Day on
                                    supporter of Comic Relief, which plays an      16 March.




Russell and Brian join Mecca                                                                                       Jeff leaves
Mecca Bingo has signed up leading astrologer Russell Grant and Big Brother star
                                                                                                                   Crown Leisure
Brian Dowling to support its online community.

                                                                                                                   A
                                                                                                                            fter more than 23 years at
  TV favourite Russell will provide an exclusive series of detailed month-by-month                                          Crown Leisure, Jeff Fannon
predictions for 2007. He has focused on the ‘numbers’ game by giving Mecca                                                  will be leaving the
members an insight into which dates each month are the best for playing bingo                                      organisation this summer.
and also lets them know which are their lucky numbers for that month.                                                 Jeff, who is Special Projects
  In a double coup, Mecca has also announced that its new online caller is former                                  Director, said: ‘I am very proud of
Big Brother winner Brian Dowling, whose Irish tones will now be heard on the                                       what we have accomplished here
Mecca Bingo website.                                                                                               at Crown over the years. This is a
  Mecca spokesperson Lesly Hughes said: ‘Mecca is all about winners and stars and in selecting Russell             fantastic team, which is now
and Brian to represent our online community, we’ve certainly got ourselves two stars who are both proven           thoroughly bedded in, and I have
winners! We’re sure they’ll be hugely popular with all our members.’                                               no doubt that Crown will continue
                                                                                                                   to go from strength to strength.’




                                                                        3
                                                                  news
Corrie star meets fans
at opening of new club
A
        s first nights go, the
        opening on 8 March of
        Buckingham Bingo’s new
1,100-seater club in Preston
was special.
   The first night bingo players
already had a guest appearance
by Corrie actress Wendi Peters,
who plays Cilla Battersby-Brown
(pictured right at the club), and
three £1,000 houses to look
forward to, but then one
member scooped more than
£17,000 as a sixth share of
the night’s National Game.
Winner Pam Duncanson,
from Garstang, had played                                                            recruitment campaign, the club
bingo for 30 years but her                                                           already has more than 14,000
biggest win had been £600.                                                           members from as far as
   The next day Jim ‘Bullseye’                                                       Blackburn, Chorley, Blackpool,
Bowen made a guest appearance                                                        Southport and Lancaster who are
at the club’s first afternoon session                                                lapping up the luxury and big cash
along with a surprise appearance                                                     prizes at what claims to be the
at Buckingham’s other city centre       rapturous reception from its                 most modern and sumptuous
club. Jim has a strong association      members. After her first visit,              bingo club in the UK. This is the
with Buckingham, having                 Maureen Robinson, of Ribbleton,              first new-build club launch since
appeared at many of its clubs with      said: ‘It’s really amazing, I’ve never       the acquisition of Buckingham
his Bullseye game, and has              seen such a lovely club – I’m                Bingo by Alchemy in December
recently featured as the ‘voice of      going to get all my friends to come          2005. The club is a flat-floor
Buckingham’ on its TV and               and play here!’                              design with excellent disabled
radio advertising.                         Launched with the industry’s              access, plus secure parking for      Wendi shares the happiness of
   The club has received a              biggest-ever membership                      more than 300 cars                   £17,000 winner Pam and her friend




Carlton Bingo recruits                                                                                                    Violet turns 100
                                                                                                                          and has a party
its next generation                                                                                                       I
                                                                                                                             t was party time for Violet
                                                                                                                             Craig from Merseyside
                                                                                                                             when she celebrated her


C
         arlton Bingo, Scotland’s       successful, with five of those                                                    100th birthday with a party at
         largest independent            trainees promoted to assistant                                                    the Buckingham Bingo club
         bingo operator, was            manager within the first year.                                                    in Huyton.
inundated with potential recruits          ‘The event at the SECC has                                                        Violet spent the day at the club
during its first recruitment fair.      been a hugely successful                                                          enjoying free bingo, champagne
   In its search for candidates for     recruitment method for us, one we                                                 and travel to and from the club in
its comprehensive trainee               will use again. Carlton Bingo                                                     a chauffeur-driven limousine.
management programme, Carlton           invests heavily in our trainee                                                       The avid bingo fan plays three
Bingo took a stand at Scotland’s        managers – they are the next                                                      times a week and is a popular
Careers and Job Fair at the SECC        generation. Our comprehensive                                                     character with staff and members.
in March. The event was such a          trainee management programme                                                         Violet said: ‘I’ve been coming to
success that the chain is now           lasts 12 months and sees recruits                                                 the club every Friday for more than
sifting more than 30 applications       supported by an experienced                                                       10 years so when the club offered
to recruit a handful of trainees.       team as they learn the business                                                   to give me a party to celebrate my
   Karen Hazlett, HR Manager at         and build strong and lasting                                                      birthday I was delighted. I
Carlton Bingo, said: ‘The leisure       relationships with our bingo                                                      celebrated and played my
industry is particularly competitive    customers.’                                                                       favourite game at the same time.’
so standards and levels of service         Carlton Bingo was the first                                                       Ian Garner, club manager, said:
are hugely important to us – as are     bingo company in the UK to be                                                     ‘Violet is a popular character so
the people who deliver them. Last       awarded a GamCare Certificate of                                                  we wanted to do something
year’s graduate intake proved           Social Responsibility.                                                            special to mark her big day.’




                                                                                 4
                                                                 news
Caller of the Year 2007
the search is on for next star
W
            ho will be our next
            National Bingo Caller
            of the Year?                                                                                                  Mandy Gargan, 2004 winner,
   Does your club employ the best                                                                                         celebrates with TV presenter
caller in the land? Does your caller                                                                                             Fiona Phillips
have that unique blend of fun and
professionalism that brings
something special to every
session? If so, they could be the
UK’s next National Bingo Caller
of the Year!
   As an entrant in the competition
they could bring lots of positive
publicity to your club and if they
take the title there is a great prize
for them – and an award of £250
for the club’s manager.                                                                        Current champion Brett                 2005 winner Karl Seth
   Last year’s six national finalists                                                      Hyrjak with Esther Rantzen                 with Coleen Nolan
experienced a wonderful
all-expenses paid weekend in               Current titleholder Brett Hyrjak,       need to be a main stage caller,        has been sent with this issue of
London, with their partners, taking     from the Gala club in Bognor               calling a minimum of three             Bingo Link. Additional copies of
in the sights of the city and a         Regis, is preparing to take his trip       sessions a week. Every club            the form are available from the
superb gala dinner at the luxurious     of a lifetime to Los Angeles and           that takes part in the National        National Bingo Game website
Tower Hotel, overlooking London’s       Las Vegas, along with his £500             Bingo Game can enter up to             at www.nationalbingo.co.uk to
world famous Tower Bridge. This         spending money.                            three callers.                         download, or from Pattinson
year’s event promises to be no             To take part in this fun and               For full details, please refer to   PR on 020 8310 5086, for a
less of an occasion.                    exciting competition entrants only         the entry form, a copy of which        printed copy.




                                                                               5
                                                           feature




B4B storms to new record
B
        ingo for Breakthrough
        2006 was the biggest and
        best campaign yet,
raising a magnificent £651,000!
   Many congratulations to all the
clubs involved for their tremendous
efforts in fundraising. Thanks to all
of you, the bingo industry has
raised more than £2.25 million for
Breakthrough since 2003.
   This year’s top fundraising club
was Gala Bingo, in Croxteth,
Liverpool, which raised more than
£10,000. Sara Butlin, assistant
manager, said: ‘I think the key to
our success was that everyone in
the club got behind the cause.
The more we raised the bigger
the buzz for the staff and
members. We held numerous
activities – car washes, a pink
party and members were invited
to throw sponges at the callers         Mecca Bingo, Carmarthen Road,            Left to right: Lucy Anderson, account executive at Breakthrough Breast Cancer;
and managers in stocks. We              Swansea, the top fundraising             Chris Askew, fundraising director at Breakthrough Breast Cancer; Paul Talboys,
also held games for a signed            clubs by region.                         Chief Executive of The Bingo Association, who presented the cheque; and
Everton football.’                         And that’s not forgetting the         Katherine Duffin, account manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer
   Runner-up in the fundraising         independents. For the fourth year
stakes was Mecca Bingo Glasgow          running, Quayside Bingo,                 the first time, Crystal Bingo in         top regional fundraisers per head
Forge III, which raised £9,446.         Lossiemouth, scooped the top             Deeside. The club’s enthusiasm           were Gala Bingo Bognor Regis;
Special congratulations also go to      fundraiser per head award,               and involvement in its first year        Mecca Bingo Swindon; and
Gala Bingo, Scunthorpe; and             followed by a club taking part for       was really impressive. The other         Walkers Bingo Heckmondwike.
                                                                                                                             After such a brilliant success,
                                                                                                                          the team at Breakthrough Breast
                         Bingo for Breakthrough award winners 2006                                                        Cancer is already planning for this
                                                                                                                          year’s effort. Bingo for
  Overall winner                                                                                                          Breakthrough 2007 will be
  Top fundraising club in 2006                                 Gala, Croxteth                                             between 21 – 28 October 2007,
  Top fundraising clubs by region                                                                                         so book the dates in your diary
  Wales and South West England                                 Mecca, Carmarthen Road, Swansea                            and start planning now.
                                                                                                                             Once again our favourite
  London and the South East                                    Mecca, Stevenage
                                                                                                                          celebrities will be doodling away,
  North East England and Midlands                              Gala, Scunthorpe                                           creating works of art to auction on
  North West England                                           Gala, Croxteth                                             eBay so do let us know if any
  Scotland                                                     Mecca Forge, Glasgow                                       celebrities are visiting your club
  Top fundraising clubs per head                                                                                          and we will get a dab-a-doodle
                                                                                                                          pack out to you.
  Scotland                                                     Quayside Bingo, Lossiemouth
                                                                                                                             For further information on Bingo
  North West England and Midlands                              Crystal Bingo, Deeside                                     for Breakthrough, or if you have
  London and the South East                                    Gala, Bognor Regis                                         any ideas for this year’s campaign,
  Wales and South West England                                 Mecca, Swindon                                             please call Lucy Anderson on
  North East England                                           Walkers Bingo, Heckmondwike                                0207 025 2498 or email
                                                                                                                          bingo@breakthrough.org.uk




                                                                             6
                                                                 news
Brave staff trio win award
T
        hree bingo workers have
        won an award in
        recognition of their
bravery in stopping a would-be
thief from stealing cash from
their employer, Walkers Top Ten
Bingo Club, in Walsall Street,                                                                                         John said: ‘He was thrashing
Wednesbury, West Midlands.                                                                                             about and we all took a few
    Pint-sized Tina Fletcher, 39,                                                                                      knocks. It all felt a bit unreal
who was the first to tackle the                                                                                        afterwards but at the time we
burglar, and colleagues Denise                                                                                         didn’t give it a second thought
Jays and John Wilby, collected a                                                                                       – we just hung onto him.’
Good Citizen Award from West                                                                                               Although all very shaken, none
Midlands Police on 1 March.                                                                                            of the employees or the two
    John, 68, the club’s doorman                                                                                       customers who came to their
and a former police officer, had                                                                                       assistance, Carlton Edwards and
already refused entry to the man,                                                                                      Carl Perry, were seriously hurt.
who then slipped in through an                                                                                         Barbara Toy, the club’s manager,
exit door as a customer left.                                                                                          said: ‘I’m proud of them. This sort
He headed for the office, where            Tina Fletcher and John Wilby in front                                       of thing rarely happens but when it
Tina was working on the                    of the secured hatch                                                        does it makes you realise how
computer, and, finding the door                                                                                        brave people can be. They all just
locked, vaulted through a small                                                                                        acted instinctively.
serving hatch and made for                  Denise, 50, said: ‘As I arrived,       tried to escape, he dragged             ‘We never considered the hatch
the safe.                                Tina was still shouting from inside       us both through the door and        a danger before but we’ve now
    Tina, who is 4ft 10ins tall, said:   the office that we were being             onto the stairs outside.’           fitted bars over it to make the
‘I yelled for Denise, who was            robbed. I opened the door and                 At this point, John and two     office totally secure.’
working on book sales in the foyer.      there she was, struggling with the        customers who had heard the             The would-be raider received a
I was scared but I just grabbed the      chap on the floor and trying to           commotion, managed to hold          six-month custodial sentence by
man and tried to stop him taking         get him to let go of the money,           down the intruder for nearly ten    West Bromwich magistrates
the money bags out of the safe.’         so I grabbed him as well. As he           minutes until the police arrived.   following the incident last August.




                                                                               7
                                                                   news
                                                                                       Show trio adds up to
                                                                                       record attendance




                                                                                       C
Backing bingo: Ian Burke, Sir Peter Fry and Neil Goulden outside Parliament                      ombined                                    stand from 48.6 to
for the ‘Stop Destroying My Bingo’ campaign                                                      attendance                                 49.2 year-on-year.
                                                                                                 levels at the                                 Eighty seven nations


Industry moves
                                                                                       2007 Amusement                                       were represented, of
                                                                                       Trades Exhibition                                    which 30 recorded
                                                                                       International (ATEI),                                annual increases in
                                                                                       International                                        visitor numbers, with


into action
                                                                                       Casino Exhibition                                    14 registering record
                                                                                       (ICE) and interactive gaming           attendances. Georgia was
                                                                                       show (ICEi) hit new heights.           represented for the first time and
                                                                                           In total, 25,055 people from 117   the show welcomed its first visitors
continued from page 1                                                                  nations attended the three-day         from Ghana since 1996 and from
effect this has had on player                                                          event, 0.57 per cent up on 2006,       Namibia since 1997.
behaviour and profitability.                                                           comprising 13,032 ATEI-dedicated          The ICE/ICEi headline figure of
   The impact of these                                                                 visitors, 9,662 in ICE and 2,361 in    12,023 comprised 9,662
Government policies is such that if                                                    ICEi. International attendance rose    ICE-dedicated buyers and 2,361
they remain unaltered, up to 200                                                       by 5.3 per cent to an all-time high    registered for ICEi and included
clubs will be under threat of                                                          of 11,919, representing 47.6 per       4,675 UK-based industry
closure, seeing many communities         television opportunities and                  cent of the total. UK participation    professionals and 7,232 from
lose a key social facility.              numerous stories in the press.                fell by 4.5 per cent to 12,920. Of     outside the UK. Overall attendance
   Such is the significance of these         At the time of writing, the results       the 117 nations represented in         increased by 22.7 per cent
combined issues that the industry,       of the petition were being collated,          London, 74 enjoyed increased           year-on-year. One hundred and
through the Bingo Association, has       in readiness to present to Downing            visitor numbers, with 43 registering   ten nations were represented,
mounted a campaign, ‘Stop                Street. In addition to the petition, a        record levels and 35 providing 100     compared with 102 at the 2006
Destroying My Bingo’, which was          programme of direct government                visitors or more. Paraguay and the     show, with visitor debuts from the
launched on Monday, 5 March.             lobbying has also been                        Aland Islands were represented by      Aland Islands, Angola, Paraguay
   The consumer-focused aspect           implemented and is set to continue            visitors for the first time.           and San Marino. Attendance levels
of this campaign has been                into the summer months as                         The ATEI headline figure of        rose across more than 80
spearheaded by mounting a                government departments and MPs                13,032 comprised 8,245 domestic        countries and for every
national petition, through all           are approached, highlighting the              buyers and 4,687 from outside the      geographical region.
member clubs, to add the weight          issues facing the industry and                UK. Overall attendance was down           The 2008 show will be at
of public opinion to the argument        making further use of the petition.           by 13.8 per cent, in line with the     London’s Earls Court Exhibition
for change. The launch has been          As the lobbying activity continues it         14.8 per cent drop in the number       Centre on 22 to 24 January.
very successful in attracting media      will be crucial that clubs participate        of exhibitors, some of whom took          Figures are subject to
attention, delivering more than 35       fully and respond to requests to              new stand positions within ICE.        verification by the Audit Bureau of
individual radio interviews, six         undertake local activity.                     ATEI raised the ratio of visitors to   Circulation (ABC).




                                                                                   8
news

      Smoke-free
  Fiona Andrews, of the Smokefree
  England Campaign, outlines what the
  smoking ban will mean in England

  L
         ast year, Parliament
         passed the Health Act
         2006, which decided that
  virtually all enclosed public
  places and workplaces in
  England should become                 lung cancer, sudden infant death
  smoke-free. This legislation will     syndrome and asthma attacks.
  be enforced in England from              There is no risk-free level of
  6am on 1 July; smoke-free             exposure to second-hand smoke.
  legislation will be introduced in     The introduction of smoke-free
  Northern Ireland on 30 April and      environments will reduce the risks
  Wales joined Scotland as a            to health from exposure to
  smoke-free zone on 2 April.           second-hand smoke and
     The main purpose of the            recognise a person’s right to be
  legislation is to protect employees   protected from harm and enjoy
  and the public from the effects of    smoke-free air. It will also increase
  second-hand smoke.                    the benefits of smoke-free places
  Second-hand smoke can cause a         for people trying to stop smoking.
  range of serious medical                 In England, more than three out
  conditions including heart disease,   of four people do not smoke and




 10
                                                                 news

challenge ahead
nearly three quarters of those who                                                  There are other measures that
do smoke say that they want to                                                   you may wish to consider to                Further information
give up. However, only 51 per cent                                               support the introduction of                for businesses
of people currently report their                                                 smoke-free law in your workplace.          To download guidance and
workplace as being completely                                                    We suggest you consider                    order resources and
smoke-free. This figure is lower for                                             developing a written policy to             signage, businesses
people in routine and manual jobs.                                               communicate the new law and its            should visit
   The five sets of regulations,                                                 implications to your employees.            www.smokefreeengland
which cover premises and                                                            Many businesses view the                .co.uk/resources or call
enforcement, signage,                                                            introduction of the legislation as         the Smokefree England
exemptions, vehicles and penalties                                               an opportunity to diversify and            Information Line on
can be viewed by visiting               rooms will not be allowed so             develop their business. If you wish        0800 169 169 7.
www.smokefreeengland.co.                anyone wishing to smoke will have        to provide outdoor areas for                  The Smokefree England
uk/thefacts                             to go outside instead.                   smoking, be sure that you discuss          Information Line can also
   Throughout April guidance on            From 1 July 2007, all smoke-          your plans with your local council         answer basic questions
these regulations will be issued        free premises and vehicles will also     to make sure you understand what           relating to the legislation.
widely to businesses across the         be required to display no-smoking        the planning, building and licensing
country to help them to prepare         signs. Specific details on signage       requirements may be.
for the new laws.                       and specifications for where signs          In England there are 3.7 million        Help for smokers
   In England the new legislation       will need to be displayed are            businesses that will need to go            You may also wish to provide
will cover virtually all enclosed and   included in the guidance.                smoke-free – this is no small              your employees with details
substantially enclosed public           No-smoking signs are also being          undertaking. Enforcement officers          of the range of excellent free
places and workplaces. It will          made freely available from the           from local councils will work              support available from the
therefore directly affect you as a      Department of Health.                    closely with businesses to build           NHS. The NHS Smoking
bingo hall operator, as well as all        Anyone who does not comply            compliance through education,              Helpline, on 0800 169 0 169,
other businesses across the             with the legislation may be liable to    advice and support.                        can offer practical advice and
country such as shops, offices,         a fine or prosecution if found              As the deadline nears for               information on how to stop
factories, pubs, restaurants,           smoking in a smoke-free place or         implementation of the legislation,         smoking, provide details of
public transport, and work vehicles     vehicle, failing to display a            we urge all businesses to prepare          your local NHS Stop
that are used by more than              no-smoking sign, or allowing             and seek further information from          Smoking Service and discuss
one person.                             smoking in a smoke-free place            smokefreeengland.co.uk or advice           other support available.
   Indoor workplace smoking             or vehicle.                              from their local council.




Take to the Green with the BA golf day
T
        he Bingo Association golf day has
        become increasingly popular and is
        always very enthusiastically enjoyed by
those who attend and participate –
regardless of their handicap!
   The 2007 event will take place on
Wednesday, 4 July, at Forest Pines Golf and
Country Club Hotel, North Lincolnshire.
                                                                                                                                                               PICTURES: SHUTTERSTOCK; CHRISTINE MOSS




   A leisurely day starts with a nine-hole morning
competition for the Nesfield Trophy, followed by
a light lunch of soup and sandwiches, after
which there is an 18-hole afternoon competition
for the Maygay Cup. The day continues with
a four-course dinner, concluding with the
prize presentations.
   There are numerous prizes to be won
throughout the day and the Association’s golfing
society is very grateful for the continued support
of all those who sponsor prizes and make
donations to the raffle table. The day is open to
members and their guests, of all standards. We
can accommodate individual players, but why          weather days yet! Since our last visit, Forest        night of 4 July at Forest Pines at £89, including
not enter a team of four from your club? It          Pines has undergone a £10 million                     VAT, on a B&B basis. This offer will close on
would be great to have a bigger turnout by the       refurbishment and promises sumptuous                  4 June. Entry forms will be going out to all BA
ladies this year too.                                relaxation. Details of the hotel and facilities can   members shortly and further copies and details
   Golfing society members may remember that         be found at www.forestpines.co.uk                     are available from Donna Black,
we have visited Forest Pines before and                 The entry fee for the day is £95, including        tel: 01582 860921 or email:
experienced one of our most challenging              VAT, and we have an allocation of rooms for the       donna@bingo-association.co.uk




                                                                            11
                                                              news
Legislation update
A
         lthough the pace of consultations has     arising from the Gambling Act. This has been          run-up to local elections. It is important
         finally slowed to a more manageable       followed up by discussions with his officials to      that the industry builds momentum behind
         speed, the Bingo Association’s            progress the opportunity for new games in             its case, publicly through the petition and
efforts in response to the Gambling Act and        bingo clubs. In addition, meetings have also          media coverage and more directly through
the smoking ban have entered a new phase,          been held with Treasury officials to discuss the      lobbying throughout the spring and summer.
working to ensure that the unique nature of        impact of the smoking ban in Scotland, and the        By the time you read this, the industry will
bingo and its status as a soft gaming              issues surrounding removal of VAT from                know the contents of Mr Brown’s budget, but
product, is reflected in the way it is             participation fees. The Government has                whether this is positive or negative in relation
regulated and taxed.                               indicated it may be extending this anomaly to         to the specific tax issue, there still remain
   The news from Scotland nearly one year on       include online games charging for participation,      several other issues for bingo that must not
from the smoking ban is not good. Admissions       a proposal the Association has strongly               creep back.
and profitability are both down and the industry   rejected. In practice, it is unlikely to be levied,
needs action on the part of Government to          since online gaming operators will almost              For further information,
enable it to fight back (see Stop Destroying My    certainly remain offshore.                             visit the Bingo Association website at
Bingo, pages 1 and 3).                                In addition, the Association has also met with      www.bingo-association.co.uk
   Bingo has been caught up in the negative        John Healey, Treasury Minister, to press the
publicity generated by casino policy, meaning      case for removal of VAT on all participation fees,
                                                                                                         ABBREVIATIONS FOR TABLE BELOW
that the Government is reluctant to take what      since bingo is the only major gambling activity
would have otherwise been relatively               to be subject to this tax. It made a formal           G.C.                             Gambling Commission
uncontroversial decisions affecting its future.    budget submission, setting out the arguments          DCMS            Department for Culture Media and Sport
With the ban being introduced earlier this month   for removal, which is likely to be revenue-neutral    C.A.P.              Committee for Advertising Practice
                                                                                                         DoH                               Department of Health
in Wales and shortly due to be extended to         for the Government if it succeeds in avoiding         W. Ass                                 Welsh Assembly
include England, the industry cannot afford the    the closure of almost 200 clubs predicted when        G.A.2005                            Gambling Act 2005
Government to sit on its hands over key issues     the smoking ban becomes UK-wide.                      H.A.2005                               Health Act 2005
that will be vital to the industry’s future.          The issues raised in these meetings will also      D.C.A.             Department for Constitutional Affairs
                                                                                                         S.E.                                 Scottish Executive
   The Association has met with Richard            be reinforced by the player petition and              HMT                                            Treasury
Caborn, DCMS Minister, to discuss issues           subsequent activity within constituencies in the      BGDA 1981          Betting and Gaming Duties Act 1981



                                CONSULTATIONS ON PROPOSED LEGISLATION
 ORIGIN        ITEM                                                                                                      REVELANT              RESPONSE
                                                                                                                         STATUTE               DATE
 G.C.       Technical Standards for Gaming Machines                                                                      G.A.2005              15-Aug-06
 G.C.       Licensing, Compliance and Enforcement                                                                        G.A.2005              22-Aug-06
 C.A.P.     Regulation of Non-Broadcast and Broadcast Advertising                                                        G.A.2005              15-Sep-06
 PEOPLE 1st National Occupational Standards for the Gambling Industry                                                    G.A.2005              15-Sep-06
 DCMS       Gambling (Categories of Casino) Regulations                                                                  G.A.2005              27-Sep-06
 DoH        Smoke-Free Premises and Vehicles - Proposed Regulations                                                      H.A.2005              09-Oct-06
 W. Ass.    Smoke-Free Premises etc. (Wales) Regulations                                                                 H.A.2005              13-Oct-06
 DCMS       Gambling Commission Fees                                                                                     G.A.2005              13-Oct-06
 D.C.A.     Gambling Appeals Tribunal Draft Rules 2006                                                                   G.A.2005              16-Oct-06
 DCMS       Gambling (Categories of Gaming Machines) Regulations                                                         G.A.2005              27-Oct-06
 G.C.       Supplement to Gaming Machine Technical Standards                                                             G.A.2005              27-Oct-06
 G.C.       Prize Competitions and Free Draws                                                                            G.A.2005              31-Oct-06
 DCMS       Personal Licensing                                                                                           G.A.2005              08-Nov-06
 DCMS       Gambling (Premises Licences: Mandatory and Default Conditions) Regulations                                   G.A.2005              10-Nov-06
 G.C.       Financial Conditions on Gambling Operators and Personal Licence Holders                                      G.A.2005              10-Nov-06
 DCMS       Premises Licences Regulations                                                                                G.A.2005              15-Dec-06
 DCMS       Premises Licences Hearings Regulations                                                                       G.A.2005              15-Dec-06
 G.C.       Gaming Machine C.of P. re Club Gaming Permits etc.                                                           G.A.2005              20-Dec-06
 DCMS       Responsible Authority for Vulnerable Persons                                                                 G.A.2005              22-Dec-06
 DCMS       Premises Licence (Inspection) Regulations 2006                                                               G.A.2005              22-Dec-06
 S.E.       Premises Licences : Mandatory and Default Conditions ( Scotland ) Regulations                                G.A.2005              22-Dec-06
 G.C.       Guidance to Licensing Authorities Part III - Enforcement and Compliance                                      G.A.2005              22-Dec-06
 G.C.       Information Exchange between Gambling Commission and Licensing Authorities                                   G.A.2005              12-Jan-07
 DCMS       Premises Licences and Permits Fees                                                                           G.A.2005              19-Jan-07
 DCMS       Prize Gaming Permit Regulations                                                                              G.A.2005              26-Jan-07
 DCMS       FEC Gaming Machine Permit Regulations                                                                        G.A.2005              26-Jan-07
 S.E.       Premises Licences Regulations (Scotland)                                                                     G.A.2005              02-Feb-07
 S.E.       Premises Licences and Permits Fees (Scotland)                                                                G.A.2005              02-Feb-07
 HMT        Proposals for Remote Gaming Duty                                                                             B.G.D.A.1981          16-Feb-07
 DCMS       Gambling Advertisements and Impact on Responsible Gambling                                                   G.A.2005              06-Mar-07
 DCMS       Gaming in Clubs and Alcohol Licensed Premises                                                                G.A.2005              18-Apr-07
 DCMS       Gaming Machine Regulations under S.240; S 235(5); S.241.                                                     G.A.2005              03-May-07
 DCMS       Definition of Dual-Use and Domestic Computers                                                                G.A.2005              27-May-07
 DCMS       Limits on Prize Gaming Regulations                                                                           G.A.2005              31-May-07




                                                                         12
                                                                  news
Continued growth at G2E
A
         s the UK hurtles towards
         implementation of new
         gambling legislation this
September, it will be interesting
to see if the government’s
expectations of industry growth
and problem-free expansion are
met. With a considerable
amount of legislative detail still
yet to be confirmed, the picture
of a UK gambling industry
post-September 2007 is
anything other than clear.
    While the leading UK-based




                                                                                                                                                        PICTURE: OSCAR EINZIG
shows – ATEI, ICE and ICEi –
showed an overall increase in
attendance this year, ATEI saw a
drop in both visitors and exhibitors
(see page13 of this issue). It will be
interesting to see if this mood is
reflected at G2E 2007, scheduled
to take place on 13, 14 and 15           Gaming executives from around the globe crowd the G2E show floor
November in Las Vegas, at The
Convention Centre.                       president and CEO of AGA, said:         promising and expanding list of        2006 show, food and beverage
    G2E 2006 in November,                ‘Since we held the first G2E in         exhibitors. However, it would          offerings become ever more
reported its sixth successive year       2001, the event always has been         appear that the Bingo Pavilion has     important.
of growth, attracting a record           created by the industry, for the        been dropped for 2007, in favour          For further details, visit
28,644 visitors from 105 countries       industry. That promise cannot be        of a Franchise Pavilion. It is also    www.globalgamingexpo.com and
– seven per cent up on 2005.             found elsewhere and its value is        interesting to note that as with the   follow the appropriate links.
    The event, organised by Reed         evident by our ongoing ability to
Exhibitions and the American             attract increased participation from
Gaming Association (AGA), has            the international gaming industry –
continued to grow year on year in        both attendees and exhibitors –
all aspects, seeing 15 per cent          each and every year.’
growth in exhibitors and a 19 per           Such has been the success of
cent increase in floor space.            G2E, that in 2006 the organisers
    Frank J Fahrenkopf Jnr,              took over The Asian Gaming Expo
                                         and Conference, re-branding it as
                                         G2E Asia. This show gets its first
                                         outing on 13 June for two days at
                                         the Macau Tower and Convention
                                         Centre, in Macau, China.
                                            While cultures of east and west
                                             have moved a little closer over
                                              the past 20 years, there
                                              remain some fundamental
                                                divides. Having a show
                                                  catering to the Asia/Pacific
                                                   rim will provide exhibitors
                                                   with an environment
                                              tailored to that market.
                                         However, it remains to be seen if
                                         this new co-branded show will
                                         dent the attendance record of its
                                           American counterpart.
                                                    G2E 2007 is shaping up
                                                       nicely, with a




                                                                             13
                                                                online
Bonanza’s online bounty
A new joint
venture allows
every bingo
operator to offer
online bingo –
without fear

T
         he online bingo market
         continues to gather
         pace, with many more
land-based operators open
to the possibility of
extending their business into
the online environment.
   Those operators who have
had an online presence for
some time are increasingly
experiencing the benefits of
providing existing customers
with a new way in which to
play bingo with them and in
exploiting their brand and
reputation online with a whole
new audience.
   To the uninitiated, online bingo may seem a         that allow operators to start their online          site (skinned) that allows players to register with
million miles away from club bingo, especially to      bingo business with the network at a level          the operator and play games on their
those not familiar with the internet and online        appropriate for them:                               branded gaming site, which has its own
world. In reality, there are a great many parallels.                                                       chat room. This site is also part of the
While the method of delivery may be very               Bronze                                              Bonanza Network.
different, player behaviour and expectations are       (entry level)                                          All the service packages offer the
very similar, making experience of land-based          Provides operators with a basic templated           added benefit of a greater level of influence
bingo a very valuable asset.                           branded website (pictured above), which then        over the running of the network, through
   Initially, the barriers to entry in the online      allows players to register with that operator and   an online review group and the fact that
world were considerable, especially in terms of        play games on the Bonanza Bingo gaming site,        Bingo Networks Alderney is 51 per cent
IT knowledge and start-up costs. While entry           which is part of the Bonanza Network.               owned by Meeron, providing further
costs have fallen greatly with the advent of                                                               comfort with regard to operation of the
networks and various options, for many the                                                                 network. Introductory online workshops are
barriers of IT knowledge and experience of the                                                             also offered free of charge, providing key
online market remain. In reality, for most, these                                                          information on the basics of marketing
barriers are perceived to be far greater than they                                                         and running online bingo with the Bonanza
actually need be.                                                                                          Network.
   In order to enable all operators, regardless                                                               Bingo Networks Alderney, through its
of size and online experience, to access                                                                   owners, has a thorough understanding of both
the potential benefits of extending their                                                                  the land-based and online business models.
business online, Meeron, the commercial                                                                    As such it is in an ideal position to work with
arm of the National Bingo Game Association,                                                                existing land based operators, helping them
has created the Bonanza Bingo Network,                                                                     enter the online market with a business
through a joint venture with leading online                                                                partner who understands all aspects of their
bingo provider, Virtue Fusion. Virtue Fusion has                                                           business – land and online.
been involved with online gaming, including            Silver                                                 Several operators have already signed up
bingo, for seven years and brings with it              (intermediate)                                      with the Bonanza Bingo Network and are
considerable expertise in both technical               Provides operators with a branded gaming            working with developers to build their sites
infrastructure and operation and online                site (skinned) that allows players to register      ready for launch later this month.
marketing/retention.                                   with the operator and play games on its
   The joint venture company, Bingo Networks           branded gaming site, which is part of the
Alderney, has been established to manage the           Bonanza Network.                                    If you would like further information on the
Bonanza Bingo Network, which is available                                                                  Bonanza Bingo Network or want to discuss any
exclusively to NBGA, Bingo Association and             Gold (established online                            aspect of taking your business online, please
Meeron member companies. Bingo Networks                bingo operators )                                   contact Steve Baldwin on 01582 860915 or
Alderney offers three service level packages           Provides operators with a branded gaming            email info@meeron.com




                                                                             14
                                                                         online
   Who’s who in online bingo?
  Site                                Software                 Network                       Site                           Software          Network
   CyberSlotz Bingo.com              BingoTek                 Stand-alone                    Bingonanza.co.uk               Parlay            Stand-alone
   Closer Bingo                      GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Bingos.co.uk                   Parlay            Stand-alone
   Daily Record Bingo                GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Big Heart Bingo                Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   Foxy Bingo.com                    GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Bingo Boogie.co.uk             Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   Handbag Bingo                     GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Bingo Tonic                    Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   icBirmingham Bingo                GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Furry Bingo                    Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   icCoventry Bingo                  GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Gardening Bingo (Emap)         Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   icLiverpool Bingo                 GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               MagicFM Bingo (Emap)           Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   icNewcastle Bingo                 GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Mother and Baby Bingo (Emap)   Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   icTeesside Bingo                  GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               New Woman Blingo (Emap)        Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   icWales Bingo                     GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Top Sante Bingo (Emap)         Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   Mirror Bingo                      GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Winzingo                       Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   Sunday Mail Bingo                 GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Yours Bingo (Emap)             Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   Top Ten (Apollo)                  GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               PaddyPowerBingo                Parlay            TGN (The Gaming Network)
   The Jack Club Bingo               GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Kiwi Bingo.co.uk               Playtech          Playtech Bingoland Network
   Get Minted Bingo                  GlobalCom                Cashcade Network               Ruby Bingo.co.uk               Playtech          Playtech Bingoland Network
   abcBingo.co.uk                    GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Mapaubingo                     Playtech          Playtech Bingoland Network
   Banana Bingo                      GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Blackpool Bingo.co.uk          Playtech          Stand-alone
   Bingo 4 Her                       GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Gala Bingo.co.uk               Proprietary       Stand-alone
   Bingo Ballroom                    GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network                                             Software
   Bingo Bongo                       GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Bingo Rooms                    ProWager          BingoRoomNetwork
   Bingo Boudoir                     GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network                                             Systems
   Bingo Calling                     GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Bingo Today                    ProWager          BingoRoomNetwork
   Bingo Dome                        GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network                                             Systems
   Bingo Fabulous.com                GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Bingo101                       ProWager          BingoRoomNetwork
   Bingo Hall                        GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network                                             Systems
   Bingo Ireland                     GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Daily Star Bingo               ProWager          BingoRoomNetwork
   Bingo Time                        GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network                                             Systems
   Bingo-Lottery                     GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              UK Bingo Room                  ProWager          BingoRoomNetwork
   Champagne Bingo                   GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network                                             Systems
   Good Lot Bingo                    GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Free Bingo.co.uk               ProWager
   King Solomons Bingo               GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network                                             Systems           Stand-alone
   Kiss My Bingo                     GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              iBingo UK                      QuadCard          Stand-alone
   Lastminute.com Bingo              GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network                                             Entertainment
   Lotto 24 Bingo                    GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Sun Bingo                      Tombola           Sun/News of the World
   Luv 2 Bingo                       GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network                                                               Network*
   Million-2-1 Bingo                 GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              NOTWBingo                      Tombola           Sun/News of the World
   Prize Bingo                       GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network                                                               Network*
   Sports Bingo                      GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Bingo Loopy.co.uk              VirtueFusion      Crown Bingo Network
   Two Fat Ladies                    GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Crown Bingo.co.uk              VirtueFusion      Crown Bingo Network
   UK-Bingo.net                      GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Simply Bingo.co.uk             VirtueFusion      Crown Bingo Network
   Loquax Bingo                      GlobalCom                GlobalCom Network              Blue Square Bingo              VirtueFusion      Mecca Games/Blue Sq
   ksbingo.com                       GlobalCom                Stand-alone                                                                     Stand-alone
   Think Bingo.com                   GlobalCom                Think Bingo Network            Mecca Games                    Virtue   Fusion   Stand-alone
   ThinkBingoPlus.com                GlobalCom                Think Bingo Network            Mecca Bingo                    Virtue   Fusion   Stand-alone
   Bingo Scotland                    GlobalCom                Think Bingo Network            Ladbrokes Bingo                Virtue   Fusion   Stand-alone
   Jackpot Joy                       Gamesys                  Stand-alone                    Vernons Bingo                  Virtue   Fusion   Stand-alone
   Bingo Liner.co.uk                 LeapFrog                 Stand-alone                    William Hill Bingo             Virtue   Fusion   Virtue Fusion Network
   BingoBingo UK                     Parlay                   St Minver                      Bet365                         Virtue   Fusion   Virtue Fusion Network
   Bingo.uk.com                      Parlay                   St Minver                      Bonanza Bingo                  Virtue   Fusion   Bonanza Network
   Butlins Bingo.co.uk               Parlay                   St Minver                      Fruit Bingo                    Virtue   Fusion   Bonanza Network
   Castle Bingo                      Parlay                   St Minver                      Carlton Bingo                  Virtue   Fusion   Bonanza Network
   CheggersBingo.com                 Parlay                   St Minver                      Capitol Bingo                  Virtue   Fusion   Bonanza Network
   Chit Chat Bingo                   Parlay                   St Minver                      Buckingham Bingo               Virtue   Fusion   Bonanza Network
   iVillage Bingo                    Parlay                   St Minver                      Beach Bingo                    Virtue   Fusion   Bonanza Network
   Littlewoods Bingo                 Parlay                   St Minver                      Coronet Bingo                  Virtue   Fusion   Bonanza Network
   Park Bingo.co.uk                  Parlay                   St Minver                      Premier Bingo                  Virtue   Fusion   Bonanza Network
   Speed Dater Bingo                 Parlay                   St Minver                      Leo Leisure                    Virtue   Fusion   Bonanza Network
   Virgin Bingo                      Parlay                   St Minver
   Yahoo Bingo                       Parlay                   St Minver                      KEY COMPANIES IN ONLINE BINGO
   www.winnersbingo.co.uk            Parlay                   St Minver                      virtuefusion.com              Virtue Fusion
   Rehab Bingo                       Parlay                   Stand alone                    Bingo Networks                Bingo Networks Alderney
   123Bingo UK                       Parlay                   Stand-alone                    Parlay Group.com              Parlay Entertainment
   Astro Bingo.co.uk                 Parlay                   Stand-alone                    stminver.com                  St Minver
   Bingo Palace.co.uk                Parlay                   Stand-alone                    thegamingnetwork.com          The Gaming Network
   Thepalaces.com                    Parlay                   Stand-alone                    playtech.com                  Playtech
   Bingomania.co.uk                  Parlay                   Stand-alone                    chartwellgames.com            Chartwell Technology Inc
                                                                                             bingotek.com                  Bingotek
This guide is not a definitive list of bingo sites but aims to show key sites and indicate   Gamesyscorporate.com          Gamesys
the software on which they operate. Information is correct to the best of our                aquagaming.com                Aqua Gaming
knowledge but please notify us of any omissions or errors.




                                                                                        15
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                                                               online
Why jackpots have rocketed
                                                      Tyler Schwartz, of Parlay Entertainment, explains
J
       ackpot fever! It’s the only way to
       describe last year’s astounding growth
       of online bingo prizes. In 2006 alone,
the size and frequency of big bingo jackpots
                                                      why online bingo is getting bigger and bigger
nearly doubled industry-wide. These
days, it’s not uncommon to see                                                                               wins can change lives. In November 2006,
progressive jackpots regularly paying                                                                        Virgin Bingo (part of the St. Minver network)
out £30,000 to £60,000, with some                                                                            awarded more than £91,000 to a 63-year-old
prizes topping £100,000 – unheard of                                                                         Stockport woman. Her stake was only £3.
just a few years ago.                                                                                           ‘I hardly slept last night, I’m so excited!’ she
   It begs the questions: Do the                                                                             wrote on VirginBingo.com ‘I’m going to buy a
skyrocketing prizes provide a true                                                                           new car, I’ve been able to help my family out at
reflection of industry growth? Can it all be                                                                 Christmas and I can now help my daughter with
attributed to massive increases in player                                                                    her wedding plans for next year. I still can’t
liquidity? Are operators loosening their                                                                     believe it!’
purse strings in an effort to create buzz in                                                                    St. Minver’s progressive jackpot (aptly named
an increasingly crowded marketplace?                                                                         The Giant) was modelled to pay out about once
   Industry experts report that in most                                                                      a month. ‘We take a small portion of every
cases the increase in jumbo jackpots is                                                                      ticket sold across all of our UK sites and put it
part of the market’s natural progression,                                                                    towards the jackpot,’ says Leigh Nissim.
especially in the UK where there’s been a                                                                    ‘November’s big prize had been building for nine
massive upswing in player liquidity over                                                                     weeks, but within two weeks we had another
the past year. ‘Obviously, the more                                                                                       one go for £32,000.’
people playing, the more cards sold, thus
the bigger the jackpots,’ says Phil Fraser,                                                                            Guaranteed games
founder of WhichBingo.com, a leading                                                                                   While progressive jackpots such as
portal for online bingo.                                                                                               The Giant are incredibly popular,
   Yet Fraser doesn’t deny that plenty of                                                                              what really gets players excited are
massive prizes are loss leaders funded                                                                                 one-off jackpot games that
through the marketing budgets of sites that                                                                            guarantee when a big prize will be
are under constant pressure to create a buzz                                                                           won. These guaranteed games,
for themselves.                                                                                                        which often promise prizes from
   ‘A key to any online gambling business is to                                                                        £5,000 to £15,000 and up, are
get the attention of players by running jackpots                                                                       usually loss leaders for operators.
and promotions that are shocking or might                                                                                  Paul Leggett, Director of
seem outrageous,’ says Stuart Gordon,                                                                                  Professional Services for bingo
president of BingoMania.com ‘You need to                                                                               software developer Parlay
draw attention and big jackpots are                                                                                    Entertainment, explains: ‘Operators
sometimes a strategic marketing expense to                                                                             will sometimes take a loss on one
get people talking.’                                                                                                   big game, in order to attract people
                                                                                                                       to the site. But that is often balanced
What surveys say                                                                                                       by holding a bit more of the rake
But do huge prizes really reel in the players? Phil                                                                    than they normally would in the
Fraser thinks so. Results from an on-going            Nissim. ‘But it’s more important to them where         games surrounding the big game. It tends to
player survey at his site indicate that the top two   they deposit their funds and whether they have         balance out in the end.’
things players look for when considering new          a good customer experience. That is over and
bingo sites are sign-up bonuses and prizes.           above headline prizes.’                                The year ahead
   It also pays to build and maintain trust, says        Stuart Gordon agrees that jackpots are key,         If bingo prizes soared in 2006, what can we
Leigh Nissim, managing director of St. Minver         but adds they’re just one part of a site’s overall     expect for 2007? For St. Minver, it’s full speed
(UK), a leading operator of branded bingo sites       value proposition. ‘We’re not just trying to reel in   ahead. Nissim reports that the company plans
such as VirginBingo.com                               people by only pushing the biggest jackpots.           to pool the liquidity of its UK, Spanish, Swedish
   ‘You can offer headline jackpots with              We’re trying to show them we’re different from         and Norwegian bingo networks to create a
unrealistic odds of winning but if they are never     the rest. We have a great community that’s not         mega euro jackpot, available in all streams. The
won players are apt to go to a site where they        just about bingo and chat, but also about social       jackpot is anticipated to pay out a quarter of a
have a better chance at winning a smaller prize.      networking. We’re trying to differentiate              million euros (roughly $325,000 USD) each
Besides, big jackpots might get players through       ourselves from other operators and really              month and will be run across all St. Minver sites.
the door, but trust and customer service are          provide a unique experience.’                              Parlay’s Leggett also has a bullish outlook.
what keep them playing at your site.’                    Nonetheless, he says BingoMania.com                 ‘It’s going to be even bigger than last year,’ he
   St. Minver commissioned its own                    awarded more than 90 million dollars (USD) in          says. ‘There is still a lot of opportunity. Every
research in 2006 and asked 2,700 players to           winnings in 2006, which was a 25 per cent              day there are more online bingo players, and
rank in order of importance their reasons             increase over 2005.                                    I don’t think that trend is going to stop. Even
for preferring a site. Jackpots were                                                                         the US continues to grow regardless of
ranked fourth, after ease of deposit and              Life-changing prizes                                   obstacles like the new legislation. And as the
withdrawal, trust and customer service.               Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of working           markets grow, large jackpots and other prizes
   ‘Yes, people do want to win big prizes,’ says      in online gaming is the chance to see how big          will grow with it.’




                                                                            17
                                                           online



Online Bingo Site                                                                                     TOP TEN –
of the Year awards                                                                                    online sites as vote
                                                                                                      for by players
                                                                                                                          d

M
           ecca Bingo has won the 2006        throughout the voting period.
           online Bingo Site of the              When all the votes were counted the                Mecca Bingo
           Year award.                        winner was Mecca Bingo, operating on
                                                                                                                               Virtue Fusion
                                                                                                   Gala Bingo
   WhichBingo.com, the internet’s largest          Virtue Fusion software. The runner-up                                            In-house
bingo directory, has been running it’s                   was Gala Bingo, operating on its
                                                                                                   Bingonanza
                                                                                                   Thinkbingo                          Parlay
Site of the Year award since                                in-house software. Voting was
2003. For the 2006 awards, in                                 not dominated by
                                                                                                                                Globalcom
                                                                                                   Bingoliner
recognition of the recent                                      land-based brands, with the                                         Leapfrog
explosion in UK online bingo, it                                remainder of the top ten
                                                                                                   Bingos
                                                                                                  Bingomania                          Parlay
ran its first UK-only Site of the                              being drawn from
Year award, launched to                                        exclusively online bingo           Kiwibingo                           Parlay
recognise excellence and                                      operators.
                                                                                                  Freebingo                        Playtech
decided by players, who voted on                              The award will be offered                                           In-house
sites during December 2006.                             again this year, with voting taking       Sunbingo
   The award is the first of its kind in UK   place throughout December 2007.                                                     Tombola
online bingo and received an enormous            For more information, visit
amount of votes, with results tight           www.which bingo.co.uk




                                                                             Better Bingo from
                                                                             Crown Bingo Network
                                                                             I
                                                                                 n order to more accurately reflect its overall business, the Crown
                                                                                 Bingo Network has renamed itself the Better Bingo Network, as
                                                                                 part of a re-branding exercise.
                                                                                The newly named Better Bingo Network will consist of the three current
                                                                             sites – Simply Bingo, Bingo Loopy and Crown Bingo – and several more
                                                                             in the coming months.
                                                                                Managing director Dan Smyth said: ‘With our network expanding so
                                                                             quickly and so many more sites coming on board we felt that the Crown
                                                                             Bingo brand did not best explain what we are doing.
                                                                                ‘We believe our network can offer partners a better deal than any
                                                                             competitor, both in terms of the online bingo experience but also in terms
                                                                             of what we can deliver to our partners. Our record of customer retention
                                                                             and maximising the returns on activity demonstrates why we genuinely
                                                                             feel we are a better bingo network.’
                                                                                The change in network name also comes at a time when the company
                                                                             claims to be able to offer partners access to the world of online bingo in
                                                                             record time. New partner sites joining the Better Bingo Network will have
                                                                             access to a wealth of marketing support and resources. Smyth said:
                                                                             ‘We’ve been doing this a long time now and have a wealth of expertise
                                                                             when it comes to launching and marketing websites. We work closely
                                                                             with our partners to ensure they reach their potential and are on-hand
                                                                             every step of the way.’
                                                                                Details of the Better Bingo Network can be found at
                                                                             www.bbnetwork.co.uk




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