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TM

The Magazine for the Bingo Industry

Get the party started! National Bingo Day - celebrating all the elements of bingo

IN THIS ISSUE

Clubs campaign for Government support Bingo: the heart of every community ICE London is back for 2022

Spring 2021 Issue 1 - £6


The No.1 association for bingo Shaping policy Developing business Driving the industry agenda The association for all things bingo - working with senior management and operators for more than two decades - successfully promoting and developing the interests of all bingo operators. For industry news, comment and information on the benefits of membership, visit www.bingo-association.co.uk Call 01582 860921 or email info@bingo-association.co.uk


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Introduction Welcome to the very first issue of Bingo Connect, the new magazine for the bingo industry in the UK, and the official magazine of The Bingo Association. Published in hard copy and digital format (available on our new website at www.bingoconnect.co.uk), Bingo Connect covers all things bingo, from news of regulatory development and new products, to industry profiles and charity support. Bingo is at the heart of the community and Bingo Connect is at the heart of the bingo industry. Bingo Connect magazine is published three times a year: Autumn, Spring and Summer, with www.bingoconnect.co.uk updated regularly with the very latest stories. You can register your email address online to ensure you receive the latest alerts and updates. Bingo Connect is about and for the bingo sector and we want to hear your news and stories: you can share them with us by emailing: info@bingoconnect.co.uk We hope you enjoy our first edition – happy reading.

bingoconnect.co.uk

Spring 2021 /


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Contents Spring 2021

26

14

Foreword 3

Miles Baron, Chief Executive, The Bingo Association

In profile 38

Kim Jones, Manager at Mecca Bingo in Swansea

/ Spring2021

News round up

Features

7

Clubs campaign for Government support

26

National Bingo Day - Let’s get the party started!

14

The Bank of England introduces the new polymer £50 note

30

Taylor Walton Solicitors considers the impact of employment status

20

Bishop Auckland welcomes ‘The People’s Museum’

32

Poppleston Allen LLP reflects on gambling reviews

24

The loneliness pandemic: Brits struggling more than ever

34

Celebrating bingo in uniting people across different communities


5

Publisher The Bingo Association™ www.bingo-association.co.uk

Editorial Editor Miles Baron miles@bingo-association.co.uk

34

Managing Editor Steve Baldwin steven@bingo-association.co.uk

Production and Advertising Sales Steve Pearce Tel: +44 (0) 117 957 5400 advertising@bingoconnect.co.uk

The Editorial Policy

38

44 Industry view 28

The views and opinions expressed in Bingo Connect remain principally the views of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or publishers. The publishers wish to avoid inaccuracies and whilst every precaution has been taken to ensure that information contained in this publication is accurate, no liability is accepted by the editor or publishers for errors or omissions however caused. Unless otherwise stated, articles appearing in this publication remain the copyright of the publishers and may not be reproduced in any form without the publisher’s written consent.

ISSN 2752-6380

Miles Baron runs through the challenging year that was 2020

YGAM update 44

Gambling harm prevention programme launched

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Foreword

Miles Baron, Chief Executive, The Bingo Association

F

irstly I would like to warmly welcome you to this first edition of Bingo Connect, a magazine and website dedicated to the land based licensed bingo industry. In the past we have collaborated with Bingo Life to produce news and views, but now we are going it alone – and I hope you like it. The intention is that it embraces anyone who is employed by or is a supplier to this great industry. If you have any feedback or new items of interest please contact Paul Swindon at The Bingo Association. We would love to hear from you. Email PaulS@bingoassociation.co.uk There are not many silver linings to the Covid pandemic but nevertheless a few stand out. One is the resilience of our operating members during this crisis, another is the collaborative and supportive approach the whole industry has adopted towards one another and I include the supply chain in this recognition. Another stand out is the incredible amount of selfless community support and outreach that bingo club team members and management have given to their local communities in times of need. I think the industry has handled this crisis with true leadership, dignity and class, not that I expected anything else from an industry I know so well. The role of The Bingo Association has been to support members where possible in trying to understand what government policy and strategy actually means, where it might go next, and trying to get the voice of the bingo industry heard above the melee and clamour of other sectors and industries. Overlay that with a different approach from the three devolved governments and it has been a fast changing and complex picture. For example, I think I have mentioned before but when the pandemic started there were no representatives in Scotland or Wales to help fight our corner. Even now we work with the senior official in Scotland for / Spring 2021

Castles and Monuments and in Wales the project manager for the Airbus factory in Wrexham. Gambling is a reserved issue whilst Health is devolved so perhaps this was to be expected. In England DCMS have worked hard to keep lines of communication open but you get the feeling that at times they were simply overwhelmed. There have been some wins, keeping bingo open in some English local authority areas during the ill-fated tier system, working with Scottish operators like Carlton Bingo to move bingo up a Level in the strategic framework, and campaigning successfully for additional financial support. When you reflect it doesn’t always seem much but even moving the dial a small notch with governments who are beset by various interested parties clamouring for support and priority treatment takes a lot of effort and is a real achievement. Even avoiding mandatory table service in bingo clubs in England, or the 8pm curfew in parts of Scotland seemed a big win at the time! To help make sense of this fast changing and chaotic environment the BA has sought to provide members who might need it with free HR and employment law advice through Taylor Walton, advice from EY on grant funding and government fiscal policy, and PLMR (Political, Lobbying, Media Relations), with advice and support on lobbying and reach into government. These key advisory services are still on hand to advise members as they prepare for a permanent and successful May reopening. Whilst the lockdowns have been on, and hard to believe at times, the regulator has continued to march forward with various consultations. In addition DCMS has forged ahead with a call for evidence and the review of the 2005 Act. None of these can be allowed to slip through without scrutiny and response. In Dunstable BA, NBGA, Meeron and ISD have been under similar pressures

to operators. Whilst the BA is run and paid for by pre pandemic era subscriptions, the ability of the Industry to support its Association in 2021 and beyond will come under pressure and may turn out to be a real test of whether members feel it has been of value to them. NBGA and Meeron and ISD, our commercial operations, have ceased to operate during the various lockdowns, sparking in to life at various times across Wales, Scotland and England when regional variances kicked in. With no income costs have been managed as best they can. We have taken advantage of every government grant and support, every employee has been on furlough at some time and still is at time of writing. Employees have taken voluntary pay cuts to help ensure the survival of the three companies, in short they have all willingly done their bit to support the industry and I thank them. I am confident that all four companies registered in Dunstable with the support of both employees and operators will be there to continue to provide industry services in the future. At time of writing I look forward with some optimism to the prompt reopening of bingo. We have proven we are as safe as anywhere, and by the end of April nearly 73% of our customer visits will have been vaccinated at least once. Finally, the BA are calling to action all operators and supporters in celebration of this great industry and the UK’s first National Bingo Day taking place on 27th June. I hope you will all join us in this event as the details and plans unfold. Once again I congratulate the leaders and team members of the licensed bingo industry for the leadership and resilience they have shown during this incredibly stressful time for all.


News round up

Clubs campaign for Government support The Bingo Association has launched a campaign calling for the Government to extend cultural support funding beyond the arts and cinemas after warning that forms of popular culture, such as the local bingo club, could become things of the past if they do not receive financial support.

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ingo Clubs have been one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic, with clubs having to remain closed until May 17th at the earliest due to Government COVID restrictions. Since March 2020, 39 bingo clubs (15% of the total pre-COVID) have had to close their doors for good across the country. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has set up a £1.57 billion pot to support Arts Council England, the Heritage Fund, Historic England, and the British Film Institute. While cinemas, museums and theatres are able to access this extra funding on top of other forms of COVID assistance, even with current support, bingo clubs struggle to cover the costs of bills, rent and remaining employment costs. The Government should give the same lifeline it has provided to the arts for bingo which is a great British working-class pastime, enjoyed all across the country. The Scottish Government has recently confirmed that each operator will receive £50,000 per venue using the Strategic Framework Business Fund system and the Welsh Government has supported bingo clubs in Wales with similar amounts of top-up funding. In total, it is estimated that bingo clubs have lost over £269.3 million in revenue in the past twelve months, with the smaller, independent, clubs facing particular hardship.

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The Bingo Association has created a petition to call on DCMS to provide extra “top-up” funding which is much needed and will ensure that bingo clubs will be able to successfully reopen in May. Dave Robson, Operations Director of BJs Bingo Club in Leigh said: “Making it through to reopening on 17th May will be a challenge for our bingo club. Bingo is an absolute lifeline for so many of our customers, who have experienced real loneliness through the pandemic, it provides them with a safe space to socialise. “It would be devastating for our local area if we couldn’t be there for them come the 17th of May. I don’t understand why the Government has decided that one form of entertainment is more important to save than another”. Miles Baron, Chief Executive Officer at The Bingo Association said: “Bingo clubs have been entertaining a largely working-class, female demographic since the 1960s and contributes significantly, not only to our local economy, but also to our local communities where they provide a social activity which contributes significantly to combating the social isolation of many of our customers. “It is therefore extremely difficult to explain to our valued customers, and our employees, why their pastime and job is seemingly of less importance than other cultural venues, many of whom have received significant funding from DCMS. “All we are asking is that the Government levels the playing field and grants us the same support that our friends and colleagues in cinemas, museums and theatres have all received”.

“The Government should give the same lifeline it has provided to the arts for bingo.” ➜

bingoismylifeline.co.uk

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News round up

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ICE London 2022 set to kick-start recovery The Bingo Pavilion at ICE has become a familiar and popular feature since its inception and will be a key show floor feature at the next edition of ICE London, to be held at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre 1-3 February 2022.

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tuart Hunter, Managing Director, Clarion Gaming (pictured), said, “Exhibitors from all sectors of the industry have told us they want to put the experiences of the last 12-15 months behind them and focus their collective energy and creativity into making the 2022 edition of ICE into a memorable in-person celebration. Features such as the Bingo Pavilion will no doubt be a focal point in helping the industry mark the return of what we all hope will be much more positive times for exhibitors and visitors alike.” The decision to return in February 2022 has been welcomed by The Bingo Association and many industry leading brands. Miles Baron, Chief Executive of

The Bingo Association said, “ICE and the Bingo Pavilion have become a key destination and date in members’ diaries. Thanks to the support of Clarion and the ICE Team the important role of retail bingo in the broader sector is recognised.” Andrew Ludlow, Managing Director of gaming technology provider, NRM Group, said: “I’ve always believed the industry is at its most impressive when it gets together and talks about product, discusses the future and how it can collaborate on new projects and new opportunities. One of the best places to achieve that is at exhibitions and the best exhibition to get a cross-section of opinion from every possible angle is ICE London. From an NRM perspective, I’m

pleased that we are able to plan for ICE London ’22 when the immunisation programmes will have taken place, travel will not be such an issue and the world will be a lot safer and a lot calmer.”

For more information on ICE London 2022, visit www.icelondon.uk.com

For iGB Affiliate London 2022, visit london.igbaffiliate.com

Mini-me at ET - Diddidabs The last twelve months have been unusual for us all: clubs were shut and tumbleweeds seemed to be blowing through towns, cities and bingo, but bingo was by no means dead. Zoom Bingo, Street Bingo, Boat Bingo, Drive-in Bingo and even Car Park Bingo all sprang up. Leading industry supplier edwardthompson (ET) reported a renewed and sudden interest in random number generators, as bingo hosts considered how they could create the all-important call sequences and ensure they were genuinely random. ET found themselves supplying portable RNGs, padded flyers and dabbers throughout the British Isles, helping to keep bingo players happy and families and communities connected, for as we know if you dab together you have a great excuse to come together, social distanced or virtually. Tapping into the new found love for bingo, ET have also created Sofa Bingo, a product which, license

/ Spring2021

allowing, will offer a quick and easy way to play bingo in multiple homes. Also, to welcome back customers to ‘real’ bingo, in club, ET are promoting their new perfect pocket-sized dabber, the Diddidabs Family. Customers need never be caught short without a dabber again. Instantly recognisable, in eight colours, these small dabbers are cute and collectible, fitting easily into purses and pockets. Edwardthompson are ready to help everyone get back to bingo and are a one stop shop for tickets, flyers, dabbers, posters, leaflets, mailers, dividers, banners, menus, scratch cards etc. Bring back bingo!


News round up

9

Gambling Commission CE Neil McArthur to step down Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, has announced that he will be leaving the organisation after nearly 15 years. He joined the Commission in 2006 and was General Counsel before rising to the role of Chief Executive in 2018.

D

uring Neil’s tenure as Chief Executive, the Gambling Commission has gone through a significant period of change as it equips itself to meet the challenges of regulating a rapidly changing and increasingly digital gambling market. Neil has overseen strengthening of protections against gambling harms through the banning of gambling on credit cards, enhanced age verification checks and, most recently, new requirements to build in protections to the design of online products. He has led moves to ensure that those impacted by gambling harms have their voices heard in the Commission’s decision making, culminating in the recent establishment of the Lived Experience Advisory Panel. Over the last 12 months Neil has also successfully navigated the organisation through the challenges brought by the global pandemic. Commenting on his departure Neil McArthur stated: “I am proud of everything the Gambling Commission has achieved during my 15 years with the organisation. We have taken significant steps forward to make gambling fairer bingoconnect.co.uk

“Significant steps have been taken to make gambling fairer and safer and I know that I leave the organisation in a strong position to meet its future challenges.” and safer and I know that I leave the organisation in a strong position to meet its future challenges. With a review of the Gambling Act underway, now feels the right time to step away and allow a new Chief Executive to lead the Commission on the next stage in its journey.” Chairman of the Gambling Commission Bill Moyes commented: “On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Neil for his many years of commitment and service to the Gambling Commission. A lot has been achieved during his time here and Neil can rightly feel proud of the organisation’s progress during his tenure as Chief Executive.”

The Gambling Commission will shortly begin the process of recruiting a Chief Executive for an interim period. This will allow the successor to current Chairman Bill Moyes, whose term of office ends later this year, to appoint a permanent Chief Executive. Whilst that recruitment process is ongoing Deputy Chief Executive Sarah Gardner and Chief Operating Officer Sally Jones will jointly become Acting Chief Executive.

www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk

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News round up

BuzzBingo.com boosts affiliate compliance measures BuzzBingo.com has become the latest online operator to partner with leading compliance experts, Rightlander.com, in order to boost their responsible gambling capabilities.

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he Rightlander compliance platform consists of several affiliate compliance tools that are tailored to cover market specific legislation and advertising standards. These include the Automated Compliance Monitor, PPC Monitor and Affiliate Mapping Tools all of which assist operators in managing and monitoring their affiliate traffic on-demand. The Automated Compliance Monitor detects noncompliant content across multiple territories and flags violations such as missing terms and conditions, outdated offers, and incorrect marketing assets. This helps ensure that affiliates are aligned with the brand and marketing message, further strengthening Buzz Bingo’s compliance strategy. The PPC Monitor identifies harmful ads to stop them from appearing on an operator’s branded keywords while the Affiliate Mapping Tool helps operators map previously undeclared affiliate sites to known affiliates. David Abrams, Senior Online Media Manager at Buzz Bingo, said, “Responsible gambling measures are one of the highest priorities to us as an operator and partnering with Rightlander means we can ensure we’re running an even more robust and compliant affiliate strategy. Working with multiple affiliates, we need to ensure they are completely aligned with our responsible gambling positioning at all times, and this requires careful monitoring of all traffic coming our way. The Rightlander platform does exactly that so we’re very happy to be working with them”. Commenting on the partnership, Nicole Mitton, Head of Customer Success at Rightlander.com, said, “Operators understand the importance of ensuring that affiliates sending traffic to their sites are acting responsibly, but monitoring and managing all of this can be daunting. The Rightlander platform takes the hassle out of ensuring affiliate compliance, and we are delighted to be working with Buzz Bingo to help them improve their processes and better manage their affiliate partners.” Rightlander is a state-of-the-art affiliate compliance platform that allows affiliates and operators to identify / Spring2021

“Responsible gambling measures are one of the highest priorities to us as an operator.” potentially non-compliant content in regulated jurisdictions, by scanning affiliate content from within the target jurisdiction, looking for events or conditions defined by operator clients and regulators, and sending alerts when it finds content that meets those conditions. Originally launched in January 2018, Rightlander.com has expanded rapidly into multiple territories around the world and is now used by many high-profile merchants, operators and affiliate networks to help them keep on top of their affiliate compliance responsibilities.

www.rightlander.com


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News round up

Matchmaking: Scientifically pairing buyers with sellers Clarion Gaming has confirmed the development of ICE Connect, an invitation only Executive Summit programme that uses algorithms to scientifically match qualified, senior level decision-makers who have both buying power and immediate requirements, with industry leading solution providers.

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CE Connect is being curated by California-based Quartz Events, which was acquired by Clarion in 2020 and is the fastest growing producer of invitation-only executive summits. ICE Connect will run 21 June - 25 June (Europe focus) and 28 June - 2 July (North America focus), with a repeat of this schedule taking place in the Autumn. Using the ICE Connect model, qualified delegate attendees from operating companies complete a detailed registration questionnaire, which drills into specific industry challenges and upcoming project needs. The model, which has been successfully developed by Quartz, uses highly sophisticated matching algorithms, ranking and scheduling software, to match the operators with relevant, industry-leading solution providers who can solve their challenges and help them run their operations more efficiently. As a result, both delegates and solution providers spend 100% of their time in meaningful and productive meetings. In addition, Clarion will be producing a world-class ‘solutions-focused’ educational programme. From a solution provider standpoint every detail is handled by the ICE Connect team, with a scheduled programme issued three weeks ahead of the event, and a PDF meetings’ agenda and contact database provided a fortnight before the event ‘opens’. / Spring2021

This represents a highly efficient way for sellers to connect with senior, serious and relevant buyers. The Clarion strategy moving forward is to develop the ICE Connect model and align it with the commitment to live events.

Registration for ICE Connect is now open. ICE Connect Europe; 21 – 25 June 2021 www.ice-connecteurope.com

ICE Connect North America; 28 June – 2 July 2021 www.ice-connectna.com


News round up

The A-Z of licensed bingo: Updated Operators Handbook now available The Operators Handbook first launched in 2014 at the Association’s AGM: a tour de force of all things bingo. It was exactly what GB licensed operators needed. Since then, it has been the definitive and essential resource for operators, a position that the new version will ensure remains unchanged.

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aul Swindon, Head of Governance & Compliance at The Bingo Association made a review of this key operational resource a top priority upon joining the Association in 2019. While content had been updated over time, themes and areas of focus have changed since 2014, with some sections merging and others expanding, so a full review was required. The Bingo Association was delighted to release the new and improved digital Operators Handbook in November 2020, which is available exclusively to all Association members as a benefit of membership. Now in digital format only, with a fresh design, replacing the previous A4 hard copy folder, the PDF version contains interactive links from within the Contents page and throughout all of the section headers for faster and easier navigation, directly to the chosen page. Content has been reviewed and condensed into just two concise sections: •  Section A - Regulatory (combining old sections A & C) • Section B - Operational The comprehensive guide contains essential information, practical guidance and advice on how to remain compliant with your licensing objectives and regulatory obligations, as set out in the latest Licensing Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP). The new Handbook sees the introduction of a new feature called ‘Resources Centre’, which can be found at the back of the document. This contains all of the website links, document downloads and resources that relate to the Section contents, ensuring faster and quicker access. Simply click on the ‘Resources Centre’ links which appear throughout the Handbook. This new feature will also help to ensure that all of the links and files that you need are as bingoconnect.co.uk

“A definitive and essential resource for bingo operators.” up-to-date as possible, something that was almost impossible to achieve in the hard copy version. The new digital Operators’ Handbook is easily accessible, and members can download it from the Members’ Area of The Bingo Association website, or access it through the BA SmartEXCLUSION tablets, providing easy access and reference. Updates will be put live automatically to SmartEXCLUSION tablets and website versions, with members receiving an email alert when updates go live.

For further queries, please contact info@bingo-association.co.uk

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most creative among us but passive

slaves 14 to the laws of physics

that govern our neurons?

Could machines have emotions?

Do our emotions and

0ur intellects belong

Something to Note: the new polymer £50

to separate compartments

of our selves? Could

machines be enchanted

by ideas, by people,

by other machines?

Could machines be

attracted to each other,

fall in love?

What would the social

norms for machines in

love? Would there be

proper and improper

types of machine love

affairs? Could a

machine be frustrated

and suffer? Could

a frustrated machine

release its pent-up

F

ollowing the introduction of the £5, £10 and £20 polymer notes, the Bank of England has unveiled the design of the new £50 polymer banknote. Featuring the mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing the new note will be issued on 23 June 2021. Alan Turing is perhaps best known for his codebreaking work during the Second World War. In recognition of this, the Bank of England have collaborated with GCHQ on the intelligence and cyber agency’s toughest puzzle ever - based on the Turing £50 bank note design. GCHQ’s Turing Challenge, a set of 12 puzzles has been put together by intelligence staff at GCHQ, where problem solving and a diverse mix of minds are at the heart of its work to help protect the UK from increasingly complex threats. You can try and solve them by visiting www.gchq.gov.uk/information/turing-challenge Although famous for his work on codebreaking and computing, Alan Turing is less well known for his discoveries in the field of biology. A pioneer of morphogenesis, where he used mathematics to understand how natural patterns like the spiral formation of the seeds in a sunflower head, and the arrangement of spots on a leopard can form.

feelings by going

outdoors and

self-propelling ten

miles? Could a machine

learn to enjoy the

sweet pain of marathon

running? Could a

machine with a seeming

zest for life destroy

itself purposefully one day,

planning the entire episode so as

/ Spring2021 machine into to fool its mother


News round up

The polymer £50 note contains advanced security features, completing the most secure set of Bank of England banknotes yet. The note, like the polymer £20, incorporates two windows and a two-colour foil, making it very difficult to counterfeit. There is also a hologram image which changes between the words ‘Fifty’ and ‘Pounds’ when tilting the note from side to side. What should you do in advance of the new £50 coming out? In preparation for the new £50, cash-handling businesses should take the following simple steps: •  Speak to your suppliers to check that your banknote machines (eg: self-service checkouts, point-ofsale banknote authenticators, back office banknote authenticators/note counters) are updated and are ready for the new £50. • Make sure that all of your staff who handle cash are aware and know what to expect on 23 June 2021. Go to www.new50.co.uk for free training and educational materials. What should you do about the paper £50 note? Even after the new polymer £50 note has been issued, you should continue to accept the paper £50 note. The public can still use paper £50 notes as usual, spending them or depositing into bank accounts. The Bank of England will give at least six months’ notice ahead of legal tender status of the paper £50 being withdrawn. What about the paper £20 note? You can also continue to use paper £20 notes as usual. The Bank of England haven’t yet said when the legal tender status of the paper £20 note will be withdrawn, however, at least six months’ notice will be given ahead of this. You can sign up for all the latest advice and news on banknotes on www.bankofengland.co.uk/subscribe-toemails Become a member of the Banknote Checking Scheme Cash is an important payment option used by many people. A very small proportion of banknotes in circulation are counterfeit, typically less than one counterfeit in every 10,000 genuine notes. While members of the public are unlikely be affected, retailers and businesses are on the front line and carry the cost of any fake notes which they accept as payment. You can help protect your business by becoming a member of the Banknote Checking Scheme, and it’s entirely free. The scheme will help your business to: • Reduce the financial loss and reputational risks caused by counterfeit notes. • Build a relationship with the Bank of England (they will send you all the latest information and learn from your experiences). • Support society by helping to prevent the spread of counterfeits and the crime associated with them.

For more information on the Banknote Checking Scheme and how to join, please visit www.bankofengland.co.uk/ banknotes/retailers-and-businesses

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News round up

NRM offers operators tech solutions As NRM’s bingo customers begin the process of reconnecting with their players they will be able to draw on a range of dedicated tech solutions all of which are making an important contribution to the way in which operators are able to enhance engagement, maximise efficiencies and grow revenue.

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ecognised as one of the sector’s foremost technology innovators, the NRM toolkit comprises the Engage membership app, the Budde handheld tablet platform, the Jigsaw touchscreen entertainment system and Jackpot systems. NRM’s open architecture strategy means it’s able to work in collaboration with customers to deliver a solutionfocussed approach which satisfies specific operational issues. NRM managing director, Andrew Ludlow (pictured above) explained: “Based on the fact that our customers know more about their consumers than we do, it would be foolish in the extreme not to involve them in every stage of the development process. “NRM has consistently championed an agnostic approach to technology which means that we can work with our customers in order to produce solutions to meet their business needs as opposed to simply presenting them with a product. We are not advocates of technology simply for technology’s sake: technology has to be used to meet business and operational objectives, otherwise it’s a self-indulgence on the part of the developer.” A notable outcome of the company’s open architecture strategy is Engage, the NRM created Mobile Membership app. Andrew Ludlow believes the combination of powerful technology and flexibility explain its’ popularity with progressive, agile brands that place the consumer front and centre

/ Spring2021

stage. He stated: “Our agnostic approach means we are able to link into existing membership solutions as well as our own, customise the core application in line with brand guidelines and create bespoke versions of Engage as a joint development in partnership with our customers. Because we believe that technology should never be a straitjacket, Engage is constantly evolving based on the requirements of our customers as well as those of our ultimate boss – the end-user.” Engage comes packed with a range of uses and features. It serves as a membership card, reducing printing as well as the cost and inconvenience of issuing plastic cards. Designed to sit at the heart of a customer programme Engage acts as a highly-focused marketing tool for venues to publicise current and future promotions, keep their customers up to date with the latest product offers, play games for fun or points and enhance loyalty through issuing vouchers and enabling the user to collect and redeem points in-venue. The platform is truly flexible, offering the retailer a range of fun and engaging customer tools as well as providing essential information on venue locations, prices and opening times. Budde, NRM’s bingo tablet, hands operators the choice over third party content availability including wide area bingo variant games and is regarded as a truly viable alternative to existing tablet providers by leading figures in the sector. The system is customisable to reflect individual operator branding, and provides full operator control over

tablet advertising. Budde sits as part of the NRM tablet portfolio and offers a flexible range of tablet and software solutions tailored to the specific requirement of operators. The Jigsaw touchscreen entertainment system, which has experienced a 20 percent year-onyear increase in its customer-base, is another important aspect of NRM’s tech solutions being deployed in the retail environment. Jigsaw’s extensive functionality which includes music, Karaoke, Interactive mobile app, games, alternative bingo games and an interactive quiz, makes it an integral part of the entertainment offer. Andrew Ludlow stated: “The commercial and operational objectives are to maximise the amount of time consumers spend within the club. Jigsaw enriches the entertainment offer and helps in that process. The collaborative approach that we adopt with customers means that they are directly involved in the innovation roadmap for the year ahead which is why it still remains the touchscreen entertainment system of choice for a growing number of operators in bingo, pub, AGC and holiday park sectors.” “Using technology and creative software solutions to enhance the customer experience is the best way to remain competitive which is why technology and innovative software development is top of the NRM agenda and why it’s so vital that it’s used to empower the industry and not to restrict it.”


News round up

Leader in the field: Maxim ISD Computer Services was set up by Nick Winslade in 1990 and has provided Membership and CRM systems to the gaming industry for just over 30 years.

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n 2018 The Bingo Association purchased ISD and it became part of the ‘BA’ family. Headed up by Chris Wrigley, who also has 30 years’ gaming industry experience in both operational and product development roles. ISD continues to provide a quick, friendly and expert service to its customers and to develop and evolve the sectors’ leading membership system, Maxim. The Maxim Membership and CRM system continues to be the industry leader due to its ability to target customers based on a wide range of criteria, including demographic data, spend and attendance. This data power, allied to the many connections to third party products and continuous development, sets Maxim apart in the membership system space. New functionality to help operators drive their business is always critical and particularly in the current challenging climate and Chris has helped ensure that the pace has been quickened, with a new Maxim COVID related feature launched and a number of new products about to come to market shortly. The challenges that have been presented over the past few months by COVID and related issues has seen ISD developing a Bingo Association sponsored ‘Track and Trace’ application, to assist operators manage any NHS COVID information requests. The app works alongside Maxim and allows venues to keep track of customers and store information in case contact should be necessary at a later date. Rich SMS, an addition to the 82830 SMS service already in place, will allow operators to send much more engaging messages to customers’ phones: by embedding a Rich element into a standard SMS pictures, animations and links to websites will be possible. Early testing has shown that this new form of customer messaging is highly popular and drives interaction. The new feature, when live, will come with a full reporting suite to help measure key metrics and the success of campaigns. Currently scheduled to follow quickly after Rich SMS, will be the release of EBT vouchering. This will allow operators to offer EBT customers discounts direct to their tablet. The offer can be designed as a campaign in Maxim and will be able to deliver discounts on all gaming

bingoconnect.co.uk

“ISD continues to... develop and evolve the sectors’ leading membership system, Maxim.” products, including some specific slots games. In addition to these new products there has also been considerable development done on integration with Mobile Phone Apps, Slot Machines and websites. Through constantly listening to customer needs and challenges, ISD has a full product pipeline, with further exciting developments to come, helping to ensure that gaming operators can optimise their business. The mix of operational experience and technical expertise at ISD gives them an excellent understanding of the gaming sector, enabling them to react quickly to industry developments, helping to ensure that Maxim remains a sector leader.

www.isdgroup.uk

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News round up

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Bingo

Variety

2020 was a difficult year for fund-raising for The Bingo Association’s (BA) charity of choice – Variety, the Children’s Charity. Now that clubs can open again the BA will be looking at ways and initiatives through which they can support them over the coming months.

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he previous year (2019) was an amazing 12 months for fundraising generating over £305,000, exceeding the target of £250,000, following which the industry committed to raise another £250,000 for 2020, but COVID then changed everything. Despite the challenges, many individual operators still contributed to their communities during lockdowns by keeping in touch with their customers, checking-in on those who were most vulnerable, and seeing if they needed any help. Since the relationship began with Variety, The Bingo Association has raised over £1.6 million and funded a total of 34 Variety Sunshine Coaches for schools and non-profit making groups and organisations to use for the benefit of sick, disabled or disadvantaged children. These coaches take the children out into the community and on fantastic days out which they would otherwise be unable to access, helping them to feel supported and less isolated, integrating them into the local communities and allowing them to experience new people, places and activities. The Bingo Association has also

improved the lives of many children with charitable donations, which have included the funding of very specialised apparatus for disabled children such as wheelchairs or hoists to assist in the bathroom or bedroom, thus helping families in need who couldn’t afford to pay for this kind of expensive, but necessary, equipment themselves. Lyn Staunton, Variety, the Children’s Charity said, “Although ‘thank you’ is a lovely word, it just doesn’t seem enough to express what it means to Variety, the Children’s Charity having the support of The Bingo Association and all its members. Lives have been changed, the unachievable was achieved, friends were made through great family days out, hope was given to those who had given up, all this because The Bingo Association made it happen. So, until I can find a better word, I can only say thank you to each and every one of you”. The impact of losing the vital funds raised by The Bingo Association in the past twelve months has obviously had an impact on Variety’s activities, but hopefully the industry can contribute once again as clubs gradually return to being fully operational. National Bingo Day may provide just the focus.

“Lives have been changed, the unachievable was achieved, friends were made through great family days out, hope was given to those who had given up, all this because The Bingo Association made it happen. ” / Spring2021


News round up

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Sunshine coaches have been funded by The Bingo Association Moray • Nairn Academy

Glasgow • Drummore School • Buddies Club and Services Ltd

East Ayrshire • Willowbank School

Tyne and Wear

Lancashire • Woodlands School • Holly Grove School • Northwood Community Primary School • Pear Tree Special School

Cumbria

• Gibside School • St Aloysius Primary Federation • Columbia Grange School • Sir Charles Parsons School

• Sandside Lodge

Cleveland • Rosebrook Primary School • Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice

Greater Manchester • Rowan Tree Primary School

West Yorkshire • Broomfield School

Cheshire Nottinghamshire

• Lisburne School

• Tuxford Primary Academy

West Midlands

Derbyshire

• Priestley Smith School • The Lawnswood Campus • Beaufort School • The Albion Foundation

• Newtons Walk Pupil Referral Unit

Leicestershire

Worcestershire

• Children’s Hospital School

• Carnforth School • Wyre Forest School

Camarthenshire • Ysgol Bro Banw - Special Unit

bingoconnect.co.uk

Cardiff

Greater London

• Llanishen Fach Primary School • Whitchurch High School

• Oaklands • Grangewood School • Carpenters and Dockland Centre

Kent • Bradstow School

Spring 2021 /

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News round up

Power to the people

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he Hippodrome Bingo, Bishop Auckland welcomes ‘The People’s Museum’. When the Hippodrome Bingo Club first got a call from Michael O’Neill asking if he could meet to discuss the idea of a museum, they were a little sceptical and wondered if someone had designs on buying the 111 year old building. Having no appetite to sell their premises and a wish to carry on playing bingo for many years to come, Majestic soon discovered the real reason for the enquiry and forged a great working relationship with Michael, helping to deliver the dream of The People’s Museum in Bishop Auckland, which Majestic Bingo have made possible. Following the discovery of cinematic projectors and original seats during a recent renovation, local history enthusiasts formed a community group to raise money to create a ‘People’s Museum’. The building, owned and run by Majestic Bingo, was originally opened as a theatre on 24th July 1909, with the foundation stone having been laid by Sir William Eden, of Windlestone Hall, father of Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden. Shortly after opening it became the Essoldo cinema until 1962 when it became a bingo club. The Peoples Museum was opened by Dehenna Davison, MP for Bishop Auckland, bringing the area’s rich heritage to life in a building that has been part of the local community for over 100 years. Speaking of the project, Michael O’Neill, Chairman of community group behind The People’s Museum said: “The project has been a real pleasure and to be fair it’s the very best location in the town. The Hippodrome Bingo Club has a fantastic heritage and is the last original theatre/cinema left standing in Bishop Auckland. It will be a great addition to the Hippodrome for visitors and members alike. “There’s also an element of family interest – many people have contacted us saying their grandparents or relatives worked there, so there are a lot of personal links within the community in that way. “I think it will not only bring back memories for the older

/ Spring2021

“The Hippodrome Bingo Club has a fantastic heritage and is the last original theatre/ cinema left standing in Bishop Auckland.” generations, but also get younger generations involved and teach them about the history of Bishop Auckland, which we should be very proud of.” Mark Jepp, Managing Director commented: “We are delighted to support this project as it links well with our company ethos of serving the local community in Bishop Auckland. I think it is a great initiative and will remain in place as a local attraction that complements the Hippodrome for many years to come.” By opening a museum, the group hopes to provide a glimpse of the town history’s and heritage, and give older generations fond memories. The building will still operate as a bingo club, with the museum running alongside this at different times. The Museum is open to visit throughout the week whenever the bingo club is open and all are welcome to view the work undertaken by the community group and see the items on display. Entry is free but due to it being within a licenced bingo club, all attendees will need to be over the age of 18.


News round up

King of the Castle Bingo is at the very heart of the team at Leisure Electronics: they have been manufacturing and supplying bingo equipment since the 1990s. So it was not surprising when they won another contract with long-term client, Castle Bingo, to supply all the bingo equipment and seating for the refurbishment of their club in Nantgarw, thirty minutes north of Cardiff.

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hroughout the lockdown period, Leisure Electronics were involved at every stage of the project. Working together with Castle Bingo’s contractors, engineers, operations and club teams, the project scope included: • Installation of 700 MCB barrier positions • Brand-new tables and seating • Outdoor bingo area • Electronic infrastructure Due mainly to restrictions relating to COVID-19, the refurbishment of the Nantgarw club spanned a 12-months period, with Leisure Electronics completing their work over five weeks. This covered the initial site surveys, site meetings, pre-wire installs and the main installation itself. Following re-opening the Leisure Electronics team have remained onhand to support the club team every step of the way and will conduct follow-up visits in the coming months to ensure everything is performing at an optimum level. Refurbishments like that of the Castle Nantgarw club are something that the Leisure Electronics team excel at, having built up over thirty years’ experience in the bingo sector. Always right up to date, not only with the latest cutting-edge electronic systems, but they also come equipped with a wealth of in depth knowledge of a wide range of legacy systems too. Castle Bingo also decided that loyal customers at their nearby Merthyr Tydfil club shouldn’t miss out either and decided to also give the club a mini-refurbishment. Leisure Electronics were thrilled to be contracted once again to provide the necessary support and

bingoconnect.co.uk

infrastructure to Castle Bingo’s project team. Being a refurbishment, the primary task was to uplift the existing seats and equipment from the floor, allowing the main contractor to lay the fresh, new carpeting. The Leisure Electronics team then re-installed all the barriers along with new seating, then rigorously tested everything and re-commissioned. Chris Shipley from Leisure Electronics said, “As always, it was our great pleasure to work with the progressive and forward-thinking Castle Bingo team, re-investing in their retail bingo offering and all the associated trades again. The results are outstanding, and the club members and staff will have a fantastic venue to return to”. The results at Merthyr are outstanding, and the returning club team and customers were delighted with their equally impressive, newlook bingo club. Jodie Davis, Electronic Platform Manager at Castle Bingo said, “Leisure Electronics are always professional and efficient, with great communication, and they integrated well with the delivery team on the various projects”.

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A warm Wigan welcome

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lub 3000 Bingo, the largest independent bingo operator in the UK, are set to open their doors in Robin Park, Wigan on Friday 30th July. Club 3000 have invested over £2 million in the Wigan club, creating a luxury venue with 1,000 free parking spaces and 40 jobs, helping to boost the local economy. The new, large and modern club will have so much to offer, from the sports bar and arcade to the catering. It will also host the largest interactive screen in bingo. With nine 9 clubs in the region, Club 3000 have extensive knowledge of the local marketplace and are delighted to be adding Wigan to their portfolio of clubs. Brian Fraser, founder of Club 3000 Bingo said: “We are delighted to extend our portfolio of clubs to 21 and bring the Club 3000 Bingo brand to Wigan this summer. This is a great venue and community, and we are excited to offer customers a fabulous bingo experience in a first-class, modern and secure environment. We promise something special to look forward to – both for regular bingo lovers and new customers. “The completely refurbished club will not only offer bingo lovers a fantastic new experience but also bring much-needed jobs to the local area especially during this very challenging time”. The membership shop is open in the centre of Wigan where the team are led by Karen Gilligan, the new general

manager of the club. Karen started her bingo career in 1997, working as a Trainee Manager in a club in Huyton, Liverpool. Working her way through the ranks she quickly moved up to Support Manager in Bootle, Huntscross, Walkden, Middleton and Didsbury, before being promoted to General Manager in 2001, working mainly in Liverpool and then Walkden, Manchester in 2017. Karen Gilligan said: “When I heard Brian (our owner) had purchased Wigan, I was the first to put my name down, being from Bolton. It was an ideal location to give me that “Grand Opening” of a club experience as a GM, which I have never done. I feel it’s my time for a challenge and can’t wait to welcome customers through our doors in Wigan.”

Bye Bye Beacon: Hello Merkur Bingo Gauselmann Group’s UK-facing bingo and gaming firm Praesepe decided to extend its footprint across British high streets, with seven new AGC’s in 2020, under the Merkur Slots brand. The new venues in Wolverhampton, Lancaster,

Southall, Hornchurch, Saltash, Bolton and Selby took its total of UK adult gaming centres to 166. Gauselmann has now decided to align all its UK venues under the Merkur name, including club bingo brand Beacon. The company stated:

“Beacon Bingo has been a part of the Merkur family since 2012 and will now get a new look under the name Merkur Bingo.” With Beacon’s Loughborough and Redcar venues recently having closed, the three remaining clubs at Cricklewood (London), Lowestoft and Northampton will all trade as Merkur Bingo. Merkur Bingo Northampton has also had approval from the Northampton Council to divide the premises and build a Merkur casino, with both the casino and bingo sites sharing a kitchen.

/ Spring2021

www.merkur-gaming.com


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BJ’s Bingo steps up for autism The team at BJ’s Bingo in Leigh got together during the third (and hopefully the final) lockdown to raise funds for Merseyside based charity, Autism Initiatives Group. Jenny Brocklehurst, Deputy Manager, explains. “Over 700,000 people or 1 in 100 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum. This may result in difficulties or difference in communication, social interaction, thinking and sensitivity of the senses. With the help of organisations such as the Autism Initiatives Group, tailored support can help with some of the challenges that can be experienced by a person on the autism spectrum”. The team at BJ’s Bingo stepped up to Walk for Autism. A fundraising challenge to clock 10,000 steps every day from 26 March to 2 April. That’s 8

walking days, totalling 80,000 steps. This was a virtual event meaning the team did it at their own pace. Some did it in their kitchen, living room or as part of permitted daily exercise. Motivation was a key part of the activity using the staff WhatsApp group. Paul Manning, Team Member, says. “Having spent a considerable amount of time at home during lockdown and with activity levels at an all-time low, this was a fantastic opportunity to get active and raise funds for a worthy cause. We shared screenshots of our daily step totals and offered encouragement to those who were lagging. It really brought the team together, many of whom had not seen each other since October 2020. Within days of starting the challenge the original target of £500

was smashed totalling £660.82. Julie Herkes, Assistant Manager, tells us how. “We took to the clubs social media pages to ask our customers to support our efforts. As always, their generosity never ceases to surprise us, and we want to thank each one of them for their kind donations.” The Walk for Autism challenge may now be over, but you can still donate by visiting the Autism Initiatives Group website. www. walkforautism.co.uk/fundraisers/ TeamBJsBingo Finally, thank you to all the team at BJ’s Bingo in Leigh who took part including Amy Hudson, Andrew Hudson, Jenny Brocklehurst, John Hudson, Julie Herkes, Paul Hudson, Paul Manning and Rhys Hayes.

The big bounce back!

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ecca, along with other licensed operators is bringing bingo back when clubs reopen from Monday 17 May. The reopening of venues is a challenging time for all operators, but also exciting as they prepare to welcome customers, old and new, back to bingo. For Mecca venues this is an even greater cause for excitement and celebration, as they will also be marking Mecca’s 60th Birthday. Sixty years of being a part of so many British towns and cities, at the heart of local communities. Mecca venues have been a fundamental part of the community throughout their history, opening their doors in 1961, in Streatham, London. The diamond anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year by bingo lovers everywhere and will see the bingo include new formats, ways to win and live entertainment, with further plans to unveil more new concepts and ways to play as part of their BIG birthday year. After a tough year for the high street, all eyes are very much on the leisure sector to encourage and entice people back to town and city centres. With new and immersive experiences at the top of people’s lists, Mecca is leading the evolution of entertainment in the bingo space. A recent survey conducted by Mecca Bingo revealed that people were primarily looking to make up for a year of missed socialising and want a safe place to meet up with friends that also offers value for money. bingoconnect.co.uk

Mecca are predicting that after a year of restrictions, they will see a wider and younger audience attracted to bingo. With people looking for new ways to spend their leisure time they can enjoy a game whilst spending time with the friends they haven’t been able to socialise with for months. Whilst celebrating its 60th anniversary, Mecca is looking to the next 60 years of bingo and continuing to lead the market – new formats of bingo and ways to play will make the game even more accessible. This comes alongside the chance to win spectacular amounts of money, with a £2m prize pool in May alone as well as bingo at 1960s prices. As ever, the guest experience is the top priority. John Dyson, National Operations Director at Mecca Bingo, said: “We’re expecting this to be the year of bingo, and we’re coming back in style! People are going to expect a lot more from their leisure spend and are keen to find new social experiences that are value for money and packed with entertainment. Bingo ticks every box and we expect to see high demand from a new audience who want to have some fun in a safe, spacious and welcoming environment. As such we’ve really ramped up plans to evolve the bingo experience in ways that will appeal to a new audience.” Spring 2021 /


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News round up

The loneliness pandemic: Brits struggling more than ever latest survey reveals

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onday 18th January 2021 was ‘Blue Monday’: the saddest day of the year in the UK due to a combination of bad weather, long nights and the aftermath of the festive season, made all the more blue thanks to prevailing COVID restrictions. A new survey by Censuswide on behalf of Buzz Bingo reveals that over half (55%) of Brits are currently feeling lonelier than they have at any other time in their life. The survey of over 2,000 Brits aged 25 and over also found that over 57% have felt lonely specifically during the coronavirus pandemic. The sobering research reveals that on average, Brits haven’t met friends in real life for four months or family in three-and-a-half months. In fact, almost one in five (19%) haven’t met a friend in person in the last 7-12 months, whilst 13% haven’t seen family in this time. Millennials are feeling the effects more than any other generation, with a staggering 74% saying they’ve felt lonely during the last year compared to the 57% national average and 45% of baby boomers. When it comes to different parts of the UK Londoners are feeling the loneliest, with 71% saying they’ve felt alone during the coronavirus

Scotland

71%

of people aged 25 and over have felt lonely specifically during the coronavirus pandemic

61% 124

73

Northern Ireland

57% 146

82

Yorkshire and the Humber

48% 119

92

East Midlands North West

61%

52% 138 108

118

87 East of England

53% 128

Wales

53%

131

116

132 London

71%

45% 134 106

95

South East

56% 141 100 Key % people feeling lonely during the pandemic (avg) Last time they saw a friend (avg in days) Last time they saw a family (avg in days)

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130

North East

South West

57%

95

130


News round up

pandemic - 14% above the national average. 48% of dwellers in the capital say this is because they live alone, more than anywhere else in the UK, while those living in Plymouth have felt the least lonely (39%). Anxiety is not restricted purely to our own circumstances, with 45% also feeling anxious about elderly relatives and neighbours, who are less likely to use technology to stay as well connected as other generations. Indeed, technology has played an incredibly important role throughout the pandemic, with 58% saying it’s helped them combat loneliness. Encouragingly, lockdown has made many rethink the role that community plays in society. One in five (20%) say it’s made them realise how important their community is, with 14% saying their community has made them feel less lonely. 12% say they think they’d feel less lonely if they were part of a community. Since the beginning of the

coronavirus pandemic, Buzz Bingo has launched a scheme to try and help their vulnerable and elderly customers feel less lonely. Buzz Buddies sees general managers regularly call the community to check how they are and make sure they’re feeling okay. For many, visiting their local bingo club is their main way of socialising and staying connected which means that club closures have had a huge impact on customers’ mental health. Something that many bingo clubs have been aware of and also undertaking ring-rounds and COVID safe engagement. Commenting on the survey findings Peter Brigden, Chief Retail Officer at Buzz Bingo says: “Our clubs are at the heart of local communities. For many, not being able to go to their regular bingo game means that they may, in some cases, not be having any wider social interaction during this time. “Our customers are of paramount importance to us, especially their

health and wellbeing. This is why we’ve introduced our Buzz Buddies scheme, to ensure that those parts of the community keep in touch whilst we’re apart.” Dr Rob Hicks, who has partnered with Buzz Bingo to talk about the campaign, said: “Understandably, not being able to see anyone outside your household is having a knock-on effect on people’s mental health. As we head into another period of lockdown, it is so important we recognise this and look out for our family, friends and neighbours. “That’s why I’m urging Brits to reach out to those in their community to ensure they’re communicating with others and not letting their mental health deteriorate. Initiatives like Buzz Bingo’s Buzz Buddies are essential to ensuring people come together and look out for one another. I implore you to pick up the phone or even use social media platforms like Facebook to check in with people you haven’t spoken to in a while and make sure they’re okay.”

Check your balls!

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In April Buzz Bingo launched a collection of eyebrow-raising boxer shorts in aid of Orchid, a Male Cancer charity, to raise both awareness of and support for, testicular cancer. With around 2,300 men in the UK diagnosed with the disease each year, the tongue-in-cheek boxers were created in collaboration with Orchid and saw one hundred percent of the proceeds from sales going to the charity. As April is the designated month for Testicular Cancer Awareness, Buzz Bingo felt that the timing and cheeky bingo ball theme were a great opportunity to raise awareness and funds in a humorous way, during April and beyond. The limited-edition collection of boxers will remain available until sold out. The boxers, available in small, medium, large, and extra-large, available to purchase via Etsy, feature a fun design which sees two bingo balls suggestively placed. Written on the bingo balls are the numbers ‘25’ and ‘49’ marking the ages between which the cancer is statistically most commonly diagnosed. Harry Lang, Marketing Director at Buzz Bingo said: “While Testicular Cancer Awareness month has come to an end, with the disease affecting around 2,300 men in the UK each year, it’s important that awareness goes way beyond April. With their cheeky design, we hope these bingo ball

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boxers bring a smile to people’s faces and raise money for this great cause. At Buzz Bingo supporting our local communities and causes close to our hearts is so important, which is why we’re so pleased to have teamed up with such a brilliant charity.” Ali Orhan, CEO at Orchid said: “We’re delighted Buzz Bingo are helping to raise both money and awareness during Testicular Cancer Awareness month. We want people to understand that although we are saddened by the number of men who are battling testicular cancer each year, there is a 98% chance of survival for ten years with early detection.”

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For more information about Orchid and testicular cancer visit website: https://orchid-cancer.org.uk/ testicular-cancer/

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Feature Article: National Bingo Day

Get the party started! Bingo is a sufficiently important game in the USA that Americans awarded it its own special day, National Bingo Day. Held each year on 27th June, bingo players across the country have been celebrating the game for a number years, though strangely not in a big way.

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hile bingo is hugely popular in the USA, it generally remains quite a local pursuit and hasn’t been played on the Strip in Las Vegas for a number of years: the last casino to offer bingo on the Strip, the Riviera, closed in 2015, but venues off the Strip, like the Red Rock Bingo Room and Palace Station Bingo Room, still offer the game. As Brits love their bingo as much, if not more, than Americans, have a greater number of commercial operators and organisations dedicated to the game’s support and

development, such as The Bingo Association and the National Bingo Game, it seemed odd that there was no National Bingo Day in the UK: something that had also been noticed by Catherine Warrilow, Mecca’s Head of PR and Content. Catherine joined Mecca in Summer 2019, initially heading up content for the digital business and more recently taking on board venues too. “In Summer 2020 we looked at National Bingo Day and were amazed that it wasn’t an official day in the UK too – we’d originally set out to do some low level fun and games on our social channels not realising that it hadn’t officially even arrived on our shores.” Catherine said. “I’m a firm believer that people want ways to celebrate the things they love and bingo has a very important part to play in people’s lives and in the local community – so after a year of on-off lockdowns it felt like National Bingo Day was the perfect

way to celebrate with bingo fans nationwide.” National Bingo Day needed to be all encompassing: accommodating both club and online bingo, as well as inclusive, working with all operators and brands. With the help of The Bingo Association and the UK’s other principle operator, Buzz, a National Bingo Day task force was established and wheels put in motion to get National Bingo Day UK up and running and in everyone’s calendar. An initial website was set up in March to ascertain the bingo sector’s

“National Bingo Day will celebrate all the elements of bingo – fun, entertainment and a sense of togetherness.” / Spring2021


Feature Article: National Bingo Day

appetite for a ‘national day’ which within its first four weeks of being live received over 35 enquiries: the majority were from larger online sites and platform owners, with land based operators expressing their commitment collectively through the Association. Miles Baron, Chief Executive of The Bingo Association said: “National Bingo Day will celebrate all the elements of bingo – fun, entertainment and a sense of togetherness. We want everyone to be a part of it and with the easing of restrictions after lockdown everyone is in need of some safe fun: what better way to celebrate than playing the great game of bingo.” To provide a visual identity for National Bingo Day a logo and official badge have been created, supported by a full corporate identity that delivers visual impact and cut-through: essential in the vibrant bingo arena, in club and online. Using bold primary colours the identity has been applied to a new consumer facing website that provides a focal point for the Day;

bingoconnect.co.uk

information, FAQ’s, find supporting clubs and websites, calendar and media enquiries. In addition to this it also hosts marketing and information resources that supporting operators are able to access. At the time of writing many of the leading online platforms and brands were in conversation with the National Bingo Day team for B2B and B2C activity, including Buzz, Mecca, Jackpotjoy, Playojo, 888 and Playtech. For National Bingo Day a host of games, events, activities and promotions will be taking place in clubs and online, and supporters can submit these for inclusion in the central National Bingo Day calendar. It will be an exciting time for potential new players to trial bingo and for existing fans to enjoy the celebrations. Operators licensed in the UK, land and online, who would like to take part in and promote National Bingo Day can find out more information by visiting www.nationalbingoday.co.uk or by following on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. It’s easy to get involved.

To receive campaign updates and access marketing assets supporters must be registered, which they can do on the website in the GET INVOLVED section.

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Industry View: Campaigning through COVID-19

➜ Miles Baron, Chief Executive, The Bingo Association

Political engagement: a year like no other

On 23rd March 2020, Boris Johnson announced the first national lockdown to tackle COVID-19 and with it set off a year like no other.

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vernight, clubs had to close doors, unsure when they would be able to see customers and colleagues again. For The Bingo Association it began a year where our political engagement would be more important than ever. As we look ahead to bingo clubs reopening on the 17th May and getting back to what we love, we review the past year of working alongside all clubs across Great Britain to make sure bingo was heard by politicians. Bingo clubs are so important to the communities they are part of. At the heart of our political engagement was emphasising the vital role bingo clubs all across the country play in tackling loneliness and social isolation. This has never been more important than during a pandemic. Even throughout lockdown, clubs stayed in touch with their customers through virtual events and checked up on those who were known to be vulnerable and isolated. We signed up to the Government’s Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign, to support those who are feeling lonely. This led to us meeting with the Government’s Loneliness Minister, Baroness Barran to discuss the work clubs do to tackle loneliness. This was a very positive meeting and the Minister made clear that she was impressed with our work and wanted / Spring2021

to support us. After a brief period of being able to reopen, a new wave saw the introduction of the Tier system and with it came new challenges. Despite the fact that staff had gone above and beyond to keep customers safe, again many clubs found themselves closing. We jumped from area to area highlighting this situation and mobilised our MP supporters to push for the Government to recognise the unique nature of bingo clubs in tackling social isolation. One area we had particular trouble in at first was Scotland, where clubs found themselves closed much longer than in England and Wales. We embarked on our ‘Back to Bingo in Scotland’ and ‘Save Scottish Bingo’ campaigns to ensure the Scottish Government would allow bingo clubs to reopen in a Covid-secure manner and provide clubs with much-needed financial support. We invited members to visit a campaign website allowing them to generate and send letters to their local MPs and MSPs explaining why bingo matters to them. This was an overwhelming success with the website generating huge numbers, and the day after the campaign was launched Nicola Sturgeon announced bingo clubs would be included in the

provisional reopening of venues on the 24th August. But that was not the end of our work to save Scottish bingo. We kept pressure on decision makers in Scotland by briefing them on the financial difficulties Scottish bingo clubs had faced and stressed that support already provided through funding and the furlough scheme was not enough for struggling clubs that had suffered disproportionate losses. We also made our case passionately through the Scottish media. Throughout all of this, our key message was that bingo clubs are invaluable social hubs at the heart of communities across Scotland, and we were heard loud and clear. This led to big campaign wins through moving bingo clubs into “Level 2” of the Scottish Covid roadmap which ensured more people were able to safely meet their friends and play bingo, and in the Scottish Government providing clubs with a £50,000 top up grant to ensure they could make it to reopening. A brilliant campaign led by the passionate independent Scottish bingo operators. In December, The Bingo Association also re-established the APPG for Bingo to ensure that bingo clubs have a voice in Parliament. We invited all MPs with a bingo club in their constituency to


Industry View: Campaigning through COVID-19

join, along with any other MP who had expressed support for the industry. The APPG is a bi-partisan and influential group. It is chaired by Alex Norris, Shadow Minister for Public Health, and includes members such as the Scottish Conservative Leader, Douglas Ross. The APPG has been at the forefront of the campaign to save bingo, with members continually pushing Ministers to provide more funding for bingo clubs and speaking up for bingo in Parliament. They will also be an important ally regarding the review of the 2005 Gambling Act, which presents a lot of opportunities for our sector, alongside the obvious threats. The Bingo Association has stayed in close contact with these MPs in the lead up to the publication of the roadmap to recovery. We enlisted their support to make the case to the Government that bingo clubs deserve the same funding that similar organisations, such as cinemas and nightclubs, have received. Throughout the pandemic we have made leaders aware that for

“Although it has been a challenging year for us all, we can now say that bingo has a louder voice across our political system.” many, bingo is a lifeline. This was done through several letter writing campaigns. In recent weeks, we have amplified this by starting an interactive petition aimed at securing more funding for bingo clubs in England, following our successes in Scotland and Wales. As part of this petition, customers are asked to explain why bingo is their lifeline. This makes for a much more meaningful response. So far, we have achieved over 8,000 signatures and counting – a brilliant effort from clubs across the country! In planning for the future, The

Bingo Association aims to celebrate and promote the joys of playing bingo through National Bingo Day. As part of this, we will promote the campaign in the media and invite prominent political supporters to their local club to participate in a game. The past year has shown the importance of building strong relationships with political stakeholders across the three nations of Great Britain and across all parties. Although it has been a challenging year for us all, we can now say that bingo has a louder voice across our political system.

Bingo is bouncing back!

The Arrow team wishes everyone a successful and prosperous re-opening. The Game Creators www.cowellsarrow.co.uk

bingoconnect.co.uk

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Featured article: Employment update from Taylor Walton

What’s your status worker, employee or self employed?

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mployment law has once again found itself in the spotlight, thanks to a certain ride hailing app, the implications of which impact us all: Alec Colson, Solicitor at Taylor Walton considers the impact. The decision by the Supreme Court in the employment status test case of Uber BV v Aslam has recently hit the headlines and has important implications, not only for the so-called gig economy, but for employment generally. Employment status has been a re-occurring theme over the past 30 years of employment legislation and case law. However, the Uber decision is historic due to the approach the Supreme Court has taken to determine whether an individual is a worker, an employee or self-employed. A worker is entitled to the National Minimum Wage, paid annual leave and other workers’ rights, but not the rights of an employee, for example the right to claim unfair dismissal, whereas a self-employed individual has none of these rights, but is entitled to certain tax advantages which often makes self-employment an attractive proposition. To confuse matters further, a worker can be self-employed for tax purposes. Therefore, some workers do not wish to be employees. The Government has stated that it will be introducing an Employment Bill to clarify employment status, but as we wait for this we have to rely on the Uber case. The customary approach The usual starting point to analyse whether an individual is self-employed, or a worker has been to consider the contract, whether it is written or a verbal contract. It is often the case that businesses will instruct lawyers to draft a contract to make it clear that the individual is engaged on a self-employed basis, without any employment rights, and the contract will go to great lengths to emphasise that the individual is not an employee or worker and is instead an independent contractor responsible for their own tax and national insurance contributions and have no rights to the National Minimum Wage or paid leave. Uber followed this approach making it clear to the individuals engaged by them as their drivers that they were independent contractors performing services under contracts directly made with passengers through Uber as their “booking agent”. The usual legal approach adopted by the courts would have been to conclude that the contractual documents did not reflect the reality of the situation. / Spring2021

For example, even though the written contract stated that the drivers were independent contractors, in reality they were under the direction and control of Uber as soon as the driver switched on their app indicating that they were ready to take passengers. The Supreme Court rejected this approach as a matter of principle and held that “the modern approach to statutory interpretation is to have regard to the purpose of the particular provision and interpret its language, so far as possible, in the way which best gives effect to that purpose.” The general purpose of employment legislation and issue was “to protect vulnerable workers from being paid too little for the work they do, required to work excessive hours or subjected to other forms of unfair treatment (such as being victimised for whistleblowing).” In the judgment Lord Leggatt, one of the six Supreme Court Justices, stated that: “It would be inconsistent with the purpose of this legislation to treat the terms of a written contract as the starting point in determining whether an individual falls within a definition of a “worker”. To do so would reinstate the mischief which the legislation was enacted to prevent. It is the very fact that an employer is often in a position to dictate such contract terms and that the individual performing the work has little or no ability to influence those terms that give rise for the need for statutory protection in the first place. The efficacy of such protection would be seriously undermined if the punitive employer could, by the way in which the relationship is characterised in the written contract determine, even prima facie, whether or not the other party is to be classified as a worker. Laws such as the National Minimum Wage Act were manifestly enacted to protect those whom Parliament considers to be in need of protection and not just those who are designated by their employer as qualifying for it.” He went on to say “The starting point in classifying the parties’ relationship, and as conclusive if the facts are consistent with more than one possible legal classification, would in effect be to accord Uber power to determine for itself whether or not the legislation designed to protect workers would apply to its drivers.” In other words, the drivers’ employment status should not be determined at the outset by what Uber’s lawyers set out in the contract between the parties which was aimed to prevent the drivers obtaining worker status. It now appears that such clauses which state that the individual is selfemployed will have no effect in future cases.


Featured article: Employment update from Taylor Walton

Lord Leggatt went on to say in relation to contracting out provisions as follows: “These provisions, as I read them, apply to any provision in any agreement which can be seen, on an objective consideration of the facts, to have its object excluding or limiting the operation of legislation. It is just and equitable to the aims of legislation to allow its protection to be limited or excluded indirectly by the terms of a contract as it is to allow to be done in direct terms.” Therefore, any provision within a contract which seeks to prevent an individual claiming worker status or indeed employment rights would have not legal effect. This means, prior to considering the written contract, the implication of the Supreme Court ruling is that future Employment Tribunals considering employment status will need to look at the overall relationship between the individual and the business concerned to establish the employment status. Lord Leggatt identified five factors which supported the conclusion that the drivers were workers: Uber fixed the remuneration paid to drivers; Uber dictated the contractual terms on which the drivers performed their service; after a driver had logged on, Uber exercised control over acceptance of requests for rides; Uber exercised a significant degree of control over the way in which its drivers delivered their services and finally it restricted communication between the passenger and the driver. Therefore, if there is an obligation on the individual to comply with the requirements of the company, it is likely that the individual engaged will be a worker or an employee.

Some employers include substitution clauses which permit the individual engaged to provide a substitute in their place. This is an attempt to indicate that there is not a personal relationship between the individual and the company engaging their services. However, if in practice the substitution clause is never used, or is unlikely to be used, then it is unlikely that a court will accept that the individual is employed on a self-employed basis if it is simply a means to try to avoid worker status. The decision by the Supreme Court has certainly had an impact and not just in the gig economy. It is now really a question of does the relationship between an individual and a company look like an employer worker/employee relationship, i.e. is the individual under the direction and control of the business owner? If so, it is likely that the individual will either be a worker or an employee notwithstanding what is actually stated in any written agreement between the parties.

The Taylor Walton employment team is able to help with any enquiries you may have about employment status including carrying out employment status assessments, where appropriate. Please contact us for further details. https://taylorwalton.com

Let’s make 2021 the year you get it done Legal solutions for businesses and individuals.

taylorwalton.com bingoconnect.co.uk

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Feature Article: Compliance report

Budd Bingo Nick Arron of Poppleston Allen LLP reflects on gambling reviews twenty years after the Budd Report

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t has been nearly 20 years since the publication of The Gambling Review report, or the ‘Budd Report’ as it became more commonly known, in July 2001. Its name came from the Gambling Review body chairman, Sir Alan Budd, and the report led to a tectonic shift in bingo regulation, with the Gaming Act 1968 replaced by the Gambling Act 2005. Many of you may fondly remember the Gaming Board (although I am sure many of you will not fondly remember your pink card interviews!) which was replaced by the Gambling Act 2005 which created the now much derided Gambling Commission. With the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport Review of the Gambling Act 2005, we now find ourselves with the potential for the Gambling Commission themselves to be replaced. In the 20 intervening years, since the publication of the Budd Report we have seen some huge changes to the regulation of bingo in Great Britain. Under the Gaming Act 1968, we had certificates of consent from the Gaming Board for each club, and after acquiring the certificate of consent the club then needed to obtain a licence from the local Licensing Authority. The Licensing Authority back then was the local Magistrates’ Court. You will remember that the Gaming Act 1968 placed responsibility on the Licensing Authorities to consider the demand for gaming before granting a licence, and gave them the discretion to refuse an application if the demand was not demonstrated. We rolled into court, Queen’s Counsel and expert witnesses to persuade the Magistrates that there simply wasn’t enough bingo in our proposed new location! The majority of bingo clubs at the time of the Budd Report were either purpose built, newly constructed / Spring2021

clubs, traditional old style bingo venues, or the seasonal clubs in the holiday camps: indeed my first experience of working with The Bingo Association was representing Bourne Leisure Limited who, at the time, were, by number of premises, the third biggest operator. We had the Section 31 jackpot machines, with a £500 maximum prize, as well as Amusement With Prizes (“AWPs”) and all cash machines. These were reel-based fruit machines generally; a far cry from the digital screens we now see on our machines. We had the 24 hour rule - thankfully Budd recommended that it be abolished. Restrictions on bingo advertising had been removed in 1997, but we still weren’t able to advertise the AWP or jackpot machines. Advertising back in 2001 was still limited, a far cry from the current position, with 24 hour TV advertising, life size fluffy foxes and lucky pants! In 2001 bingo managers held pink certificates, or pink cards, and the interview with the Gaming Board Officer was loathed and feared, but a necessity. We now have Operating Licences and Personal Management Licences (PML), gone are the days of the feared interview. PMLs do not need a qualification or to pass an exam. Thankfully we only need one Operating Licence for the business rather than a certificate of consent for each club. However, there are a myriad of ancillary requirements; the Gambling Commission’s specifications for bingo equipment; national self-exclusion schemes; local area risk assessments; and alternative

dispute resolution. Thankfully, primary purpose has been replaced by requirements for “substantive facilities for non-remote bingo” provided in reliance on the Operating Licence, to be available at the premises, so that the clubs can provide gaming machines within their licensed bingo premises. Licensing Authorities morphed from the Magistrates’ Court to the local Council, magistrates themselves replaced by democratically elected Councillors who would ultimately make decisions on the grant and regulation of our clubs. 80% of machines can be the £500 maximum prize B3, and we are not limited in numbers to the Category C and Category D machines we provide. Although children are allowed into our premises, the majority of clubs, as a matter of policy, limit their customers to adults. The industry has changed – high street bingo is evolving in significant numbers, premises licensed to provide bingo, but in appearance more similar to an arcade with bingo rather than a traditional bingo club. We can surf the


Feature Article: Compliance report

“20 years on the question we are asking ourselves is where the DCMS review of the Gambling Act 2005 will take us.” internet, playing bingo, without limit on stakes or prizes, with tombola, with a cheeky fox, or many other websites, operated by businesses in Malta, Gibraltar, Alderney and the Isle of Man. We can play games of bingo with players linked in other clubs or players on the internet. Bingo has evolved in other ways too. We have the anarchy and fun of Bongo’s Bingo, Rebel Bingo and Bingo Lingo, which use the fun of bingo as the basis for a whole evening’s entertainment, with S Club 7 and the Vengaboys. The entertainment bingo

venues move from town to town, but we are now starting to see more permanent entertainment bingo, with dedicated entertainment bingo premises, and nights being run in more traditional clubs, with music, comedy, fireworks (and even some nudity!). 20 years on the question we are asking ourselves is where the DCMS review of the Gambling Act 2005 will take us. In reality, it is unlikely that the Government will replace the Gambling Commission, they may well play with its powers, the Government may introduce the favoured consumer

protection of recent years and bring in an Ombudsman, even though when it comes to bingo there is little evidence that customers complain, and that an Ombudsman is required. The DCMS review is likely to lead to online bingo stakes being limited, currently they are not, but hopefully there will be no tinkering with the game we all know and love. So where will we be in another 20 years’ time bingo by avatar?! What I do know, is that I have never yet had a full house at bingo.

Nick Arron is a partner at niche licensing law firm Poppleston Allen. He works exclusively in gambling regulation. Poppleston Allen act for The Bingo Association and advises its members. Nick can be contacted via email n.arron@popall.co.uk or telephone 07968 805559. www.popall.co.uk

Want to keep completely up to date with everything that’s happening in the World of Bingo? Then pop over to our online companion website Read the very latest news and views on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. It’s a ‘full house’ of information!

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Bingo: the heart of every community

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he community nature of club bingo and the ability of the game to unite people is something that is not as widely known and celebrated as it probably should be. Actually, make that definitely. If there is a top five of positive consequences from the gruesome global pandemic that is Coronavirus, then increased community cohesion is right up there. And amongst those stories of generosity, personal hardship, community support and sadly, loss, bingo crops up so many times: from bingo callers delivering food, to Royals calling bingo. From drive-in bingo to boat bingo, from communities playing street bingo, to bingo communities helping people on the streets. Bingo is certainly a great unifier, whether it is the simplicity of it, the familiarity with it, the ‘real time’ nature of it, the ease with which it can be shared, or its ability to engage different generations. For most people bingo has certainly demonstrated (in one of the strangest times in living memory) that it’s valuable to communities and a long way from its expiration date. This ‘bingo’ factor is also something that has not been exclusive to the UK: the USA, Italy, Ireland and Spain have all experienced and reported on bingo. Not so much a case of ‘dancing in the streets”, but certainly bingo in the streets! And it is not just the game that is giving to communities and people, as while clubs in the UK were forced to close, along with all other leisure activities, the communities that exist around them (members and staff) used their community and bond to do some amazing things, not just for bingo fans, but for people full stop. Bingo has always been about people; customers, communities and staff, but its longevity has perhaps led many to discount its modern-day currency. Let’s celebrate bingo and community: bingo players, bingo callers, bingo staff, bingo clubs, bingo operators: in a word, the bingo spirit. There has never been a better time to put National Bingo Day in the calendar, as the real talent of bingo has been revealed for the greater good of us all.

/ Spring2021


Feature Article: Bingo the heart of every community

Here are just a small selection of some of the amazing things bingo has brought to communities, many of which have continued past easing of restrictions. Let BJ’s Entertain You! As the UK went into full lockdown again on 5th November 2020, BJ’s Bingo were ready to step up and use what the team had learnt from Lockdown Mark I. The first lockdown saw the BJ’s team asking themselves, how could they keep customers entertained and engaged? With the clubs closed and key staff working from home, it was Will Darbyshire-Clarke, Membership Manager, who was chosen to manage the brief first time round and Will who was first to hit the mic for Lockdown Mark II. “As our venues closed, I grabbed my laptop, and the pull up banners and headed to my second office. The dining room table.” Will said. Having downloaded broadcasting software as part of activities for Lockdown I, Will and the team were ready to go onto their respective ‘virtual studios’ again. “As we could stream live via Facebook in a professional and slick manner, we had to decide what kind of entertainment we would provide. Quizzes were already proving popular, and we just had to get bingo in there too”. But it was Will’s Quiz Night that helped weekly broadcast totals reach a customer audience, online, of over

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7,000 people, “The response from our customers was again phenomenal, with lot of online banter in the chat rooms. It was great to keep in touch with everyone and have fun too.” Said Will. Each week staff members would pre-record a question of their choice and offer messages of support during the lockdown. “During the lockdown staff members would upload their video questions via a WhatsApp group and customers loved seeing familiar faces from our clubs each week” Will continued. Customers would comment throughout the quiz with their answers for the chance to win BJ’s Bingo gift vouchers which they could use when the clubs reopen. Again, BJ’s Bingo invited customers to generate their bingo tickets at home using their mobile telephone number and a game of bingo was played between the quiz questions. BJ’s Bingo will be delighted to welcome back customers who know they have vouchers waiting for them to spend. Will said, “The weekly broadcast brought people together again during the lockdown and while we hope not to be in that position again it is great to know that bingo’s community spirit can carry us all through and keep us going.” BINGO and so much more... Mecca bingo clubs across the country were leading the charge during lockdown, providing all kinds of support and doing all kinds of things to help their communities. Mecca Swansea were covering all bases in the

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town and you can read more about that on page 38 where we catch up with Kim Jones, who is In Profile this issue, but they were not the only Mecca club out there leading the charge on a wide range of fronts! Mecca Bingo team members at clubs across the country have worked hard throughout each lockdown to bring bingo cheer to those who needed it most, by cooking and delivering free meals to local communities. The hard work of the team has resulted in cooking over 50,000 meals! The milestone meal was served by West Bromwich MP, Shaun Bailey, made at Mecca Wednesbury Cross delivered to Open Heaven Church, Wednesbury. Shaun Bailey MP said: “It was great to be able to prepare the 50,000th meal at Mecca Bingo Wednesbury. The team have been phenomenal in the work they’ve done to support some of the most vulnerable over the last few months. I want to thank the team for everything they’ve done for local communities and for letting me come along and help.” The total number of meals delivered so far during lockdowns is over 98,000. To help manage activity Mecca designated their clubs in Wednesbury, Dagenham, Hartlepool, Southend, Swansea, Glasgow Forge and Knotty Ash (Liverpool) as Hub Clubs, providing a regional focus for community and support activity in addition to which other clubs were engaging locally.

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Feature Article: Bingo the heart of every community

Throughout lockdown, Mecca Bingo clubs across the country have been working hard to show their support for the hard-working frontline key workers, their amazing customers and the wider community in a number of ways: • Creating community charity projects • Supporting the homeless • Telephoning customers to check if they needed anything and having a bit of a chat • Food for NHS workers • Chocolate Easter egg give away – over 5,000 eggs • Helping Rhino Food Delivery to the vulnerable • Acting as community hubs, for drop, manage and collection of donations • Community kitchens • Free parking for NHS staff In addition to this clubs have also celebrated customers’ milestone birthdays with surprise doorstep gifts and hosted over 100 bingo zoom sessions with regular customers, care homes and community groups: in Dagenham they even go the local Mayor in to call. Love Island’s Chris Hughes joined in at Mecca Dagenham with food preparation and delivery, reported in The Sun and Mecca Bingo Chesterfield opened kitchens for homeless. The Lines were buzzin’ Buzz Bingo were also on the phones, ringing round as part of their ‘Buzz Buddies’ initiative, a scheme to try and help their vulnerable and elderly customers feel less lonely. General managers were regularly calling customers to check how they were and make sure they were feeling okay: for many, visiting their local bingo club is their main way of socialising and staying connected.

www.bjsbingo.co.uk

www.meccabingo.com/community

www.buzzbingo.com

A Rallying Shout in Rhyl – Street Bingo

A street in north Wales played bin go with each other from their driveways as a way to pass the time during lockdowns. Residen ts on the street in Bruton Park Estate, Rhyl, sat on their drives and played the game every week. One resident said the community has always been closeknit but they have now been bro ught “very much closer together” since the lockdown. The neighbours now play bingo every Sunday and have even started quizzes too.

Royal Bingo

d ke of Cambridge, an Prince William, Du A, AK of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess o ok time to call bing William and Kate, to ing the game has for a care home, show , even though some enduring popularity ills. the Duke’s calling sk players questioned

Hollywood Bingo

Bringing A-list movie star magic to the game, Matthew McConaughey took tim e out of his schedule to call bingo for residen ts of a Texan care facility who were isolating: he put out a call on Twitter asking for unity during the coronavirus pandemic and bingo was the ans wer.

Neighbours’ Bingo

hbours found a novel way to break the Rotherhithe South East London: neig Swan ally distanced bingo. Residents of the lockdown boredom – by playing soci bingo the with e, gam the afternoon to play Estate took to their landings on Sunday ild of nch brai The . bers rd to shout out the num caller standing in the central courtya in king chec of ted to use the game as a way resident Wendy Roberts, 43, who wan . aging during a difficult time with residents to see that they were man

The Isolation Bingo Bus in Ferg

uslie Park

Ferguslie Park is a residential sub urb at the north-west extremity of Paisley in Renfrewshire, Scotland, bordered by Linwood to the west and Glasgow Airport to the north. A group of volunteers took bingo to the stre et in their bingo bus, getting peo ple out to play.


Feature Article: Age Check Certification Scheme

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Tick all the boxes when it comes to age checks Bingo Connect catches up with Tony Allen, founder and CEO of Age Check Certification Scheme (ACCS)

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t would be an understatement to say that it’s not been an easy time for bingo operators. But, with the light at the end of the tunnel, now’s the time to get ready to thrive in 2021. One of the things set to impact all operators this year is the government’s ongoing review of the Gambling Act. With a whitepaper expected by the end of the year, operators would be wise to put in processes and procedures to ensure they are in good shape ahead of any changes. Customer and age verification play a key part in the current Act and will continue to do so in any revised or new versions. Effective verification is crucial to protect businesses from not only underage, but also problem or prohibited gamblers. Plus, with many bingo venues also selling other age restricted products it can be easy to get into hot water if age verification isn’t taken seriously. Worryingly, underage gambling is on the rise. Research from GambleAware last year revealed that over 50% of UK 17-year-olds are participating in some form of gambling activity: concerning as the legal gambling age is 18. At ACCS, age verification is something we’re currently supporting The Bingo Association with, having partnered with them since February 2020 to implement an industry-leading age verification programme. As part of this, we’re helping to initiate a test purchasing exercise to prove that BA members conform to the highest industry standards of underage gambling prevention. Our service ensures that rigorous age check practices are followed by

bingoconnect.co.uk

providers of age-restricted goods, content and services, through a combination of robust processes, custom-built technology and a team of fully qualified trading standards and audit professionals. While our work with the BA was put temporarily on hold due to lockdown, we’ve now fully restarted test purchasing, checking that establishments comply with the relevant legislation, while also assessing its due diligence and monitoring activities. We’ll then compile test reports for each operator. These reports are recognised by the UK Gambling Commission and international regulators as evidence that age verification requirements are in place and being met. The data that we gather as part of the tests will also help The Bingo Association to perform statistical analysis that pinpoints how age verification processes can be further improved. Tackling problem areas In our work with the BA, we’re organising and delivering the tests, as well as providing advice, highlighting problem areas and creating tailored solutions. Problem areas can be far-reaching, and from our experience to date can vary significantly from operator to operator. Firstly, the fact there are often multiple services within a bingo club that require age verification can pose a problem. While the industry tends to choose to apply a no under18s policy, this isn’t the case across the board. We recommend that age checking takes place at the door and inside clubs and that age check

posters and signage are displayed, to create an expectation of challenge – particularly in the case of those operators that do allow under-18s on the premises. Also, how employees are trained to deal with age verification varies significantly from venue to venue, meaning consistent training for them is imperative. However, this doesn’t always happen and can vary in quality. As a minimum, you should regularly remind your employees of the rules concerning age restricted goods, but to be fully protected, it would be wise to put staff through a structured training programme when they begin their role. Any training programme should use certified materials and be recorded. Achieving consistency across multiple branches can also be tricky: a poor performing branch in a chain can damage reputation across the board. Again, here it can help to put in place consistent processes across all branches and regularly refresh training programmes. We recommend that all sites are checked quarterly. As bingo operators plan for the future, and hopefully a fruitful year, they must ensure they have appropriate age check processes in place. All operators have a responsibility to prevent underage gambling within the licensed bingo industry, and this will only become more important as a spotlight is shone on the sector during the gambling review this year.

To find out more information, visit www.accscheme.com or get in touch with Obi Udanoh at obi.udanoh@accscheme.com.

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In Profile: Kim Jones

Building bridges from ‘over the bridge’ Kim Jones, Manager at Mecca Bingo in Swansea, has the honour of being the first person to feature in our regular In Profile section.

L Kim Jones, Manager at Mecca Bingo Swansea

/ Spring2021

iving proof that great things come in small packages, known to her friends as ‘halfpint’, we think anyone who knows Kim would agree she is a real live wire and bundle of energy. With a natural enthusiasm and sense of fun, Kim was an obvious choice when the National Bingo Game were seeking Hosts for their VIP winner event, Cardiff Calling, last year. Kim also works on several project streams for Mecca and also runs the Mecca Comms page (Internal Facebook page) with everyone from support office/area managers/ general managers and team members. An English import to Wales, but only from just over the Severn Bridge, Kim was born in Bristol, but before settling in South Wales, where her parents now also live, she tried a few different locations around the UK. Caerleon is now the place she calls home, with her parents living a short distance away. Her first ever job was as a checkout assistant at Tesco, in Broadmead Bristol, but that did not inspire Kim to pursue a career with the supermarket giant. Upon leaving school Kim got her first job at Mecca in Bristol as a receptionist and kitchen assistant. It was only a part-time role as she was also studying at college for her BTEC 3 in Media studies. “My friend had started working there (Mecca Bingo) and it sounded fab, so I applied and in two weeks left my job in Tesco.” Kim said. “Since then I have never really looked back, until being asked to appear in Bingo Connect. I think I took to it like a duck to water and immediately felt at home.” Never having played bingo, Kim’s part-time job with Mecca was her

introduction to the world of club bingo and the characters that inhabited it, both sides of the reception desk! Now, she regularly attends with girlfriends and is a firm fan of electronics ‘as it allows us to play and have a good catchup for a girlie night out’. Going to bingo, whether for work or to meet friends, is never a busman’s holiday for Kim who very much enjoys being with people. “Starting work at Mecca in Bristol, it all just naturally clicked with me and I progressed through the ranks quite quickly. In that way Mecca is a very supportive company and encourage staff if they want to progress. I became an office controller and duty manager at 21. By 22 I was a membership manager and by 25 I had become a trainee general manager (GM). I think I may have been one of the youngest at the time.” To progress so quickly we are sure that Kim must have been dedicated to her job and customers, but she assures us that there was and remains a lot of fun and satisfaction in her job. “The first club I managed as a GM was Mecca Andover, then Mecca Catford before moving on to Cwmbran. It was the move to Cwmbran that bought me back west and to South Wales, before then becoming GM at Swansea in May 2019 and it has been all go ever since I joined the team.” When Kim moved to Swansea in 2019 no one had any idea of the challenges that lay ahead for everybody the following year, but bingo and the spirit that unites players and staff to their local communities was set to become centre stage, and not just in the UK. “I think what initially attracted me to bingo was the sense of fun and genuine engagement with customers. While that


In Profile: Kim Jones

was what got me started on a career in bingo what has kept me here is that each GM is allowed enough autonomy to be able to make a club their own – put their stamp on it, and, of course, I love working with a team. “Leading a team is my favourite part of the job and I absolutely love always being hands on. The social aspect is also something that I just love too – a real community, which is something that there is not a huge amount of in the modern day. I think that’s why I have tried to revive and grow it in all the clubs I have been GM at – plus it gives you so much back in return, making that difference and having time for people.” Since initially contacting Kim about being ‘In Profile’ the world is a much changed place, thanks to COVID, which has seen every club in the country close and more recently reopen with new COVID-safe measures, only to see some being asked to close again as we move into winter. With clubs a key part of the communities in which they are located and, for some customers, bingo being their only form of social engagement and connection with the broader community, the closing of clubs saw many people, not merely deprived of bingo, but also isolated. This was at a time when every part of the globe, not just their local town, was at best challenged. Kim may have been floored by the confirmation of a national lockdown, but it was never going to take it sitting down for long. “When the first national lockdown was announced I have to be honest and say I panicked –closed down everything and communicated with our team what was happening. It was petrifying. We closed on the 23rd March, but by the 25th we had plans in place to start up a Mecca Community kitchen that very week.” Kim continues, “Like so many bingo clubs across the country we had relationships already established with several local charities, for which we had already helped raise money and donated hot meals since the previous August. We collaborated with them and this is when the ‘Swansea Together’ project was born.” Swansea Together is an emergency collective, that is coordinating a collaborative effort to see food prepared and distributed safely on bingoconnect.co.uk

a daily basis for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. “The aim is to ensure that every person in Swansea is fed, clothed, and supported during this time. We worked with several charities to get this started, including Matthew’s House, which provides a warm and welcoming building in the heart of Swansea, particularly for the homeless and most vulnerable in the city; Matt’s Café (I love their slogan ‘feed bellies not bins!’) which is part of the The Real Junk Food (TRJF) Project, a network of national and international cafes, permanent and pop-ups, that intercept food waste destined for land fill and use it to feed people who need it, safely, on a pay-as-you-feel basis. That is amazing! And ‘Where’s Doris’, which is a not for profit organization setup to support people in need. “We also have a good relationship with our MP Carolyn Harris who has big plans for us. She put a proposal together that not only would we send care packages and feed the vulnerable and shielding in Swansea, but we would also become the main hub for the city! This saw us receiving clothes and toys and all sorts of gifts that were donated for us to distribute where they were needed most. “We started cooking, preparing, and delivering (with the help of Swansea Council) around 300 meals per week. We had no idea how much that would grow and by May we were averaging 1,300 meals and care packages per week. “We also extended our help to our local heroes, care workers/fire/ ambulance services, any NHS workers,

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“Leading a team is my favourite part of the job and I absolutely love always being hands on.” local hospitals and schools that were open for the children of key workers.” For Mecca Swansea lockdown, rather than isolating them from the local community, saw Kim and team putting the club at the very epicentre, despite the club not being open to the public for bingo. How do you deliver all that? “We had already started working with charities, helping them feed homeless people in Swansea,’ Kim said, “and knew that these people would be so much more vulnerable during the lockdown, with less people on the streets to help and offer services. “A huge idle kitchen and a team that would not stay away made this possible. Without them it could not have happened – special thanks to Spring 2021 /


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In Profile: Kim Jones

“The work of the team who have given of their time unstintingly during lockdown has been amazing.” Emma Thatcher, Adam Davies, Gaynor Robinson, Abbie Berry and Tracey Davies my Operations Manager, but everyone in the team did what they could and were all fabulous! With Swansea council services driving and delivering every meal and care package we made, we were all go. “We celebrated national days and holidays during lockdown. During the VE day celebrations we posted on Facebook a competition in which our customers could win a bingo at home package. This went viral. We ended up delivering over 100 bingo at home packages across Swansea. It was great fun.” It was not just the wider Swansea community who benefitted from Kim’s and the team’s work, Mecca customers came in for some TLC too. “We didn’t only cook. We made phone calls. Lots of phone calls, to our customers daily. Checking in and seeing if anyone needed any help or support and for those that did, made them up care packages. Over 35,000 hot meals and care packages were distributed by the end of lockdown from Mecca Swansea and we are continuing with the homeless meals 3 times per week, something that will continue for the foreseeable future.” There is no doubt that Kim and team made a huge difference during lockdown, not only to their customers, but also to the wider community of which they are a part. But how was the

/ Spring2021

return, following clubs being allowed to open in July 2020? “The work continued,” said Kim. “We worked hard getting our club, clean, safe and COVID compliant and spent a lot of time showing customers what we had done to ensure their safety was and is our priority. “One of the first things we arranged was an awards night. This was organised by myself and Tracey my OM and starred MP Carolyn Harris. We invited all of the people that volunteered their services, all of the companies that donated and everyone involved in being our support network throughout. As a thank you for their help. Carolyn presented awards which were provided and prizes, sponsored the National Bingo Game!” The work of the team who have given of their time unstintingly during lockdown has been amazing, but have they had the energy to then put in place and help customers navigate the new COVID compliant space, and what has this meant for the business? “Yes. Is the short answer” said Kim. “The club has been doing well. We have had nothing but great feedback from our customers about the work we have been doing in lockdown. Many of our shielding customers and their families had support from us one way or another, so feel really connected to us. Plus, we called them and explained what we were doing to keep them and our teams safe.

“It’s been a tall order. To help ease customers back into things we introduced ‘Mecca Cares’ sessions at 10am each morning. This is where customers that were a bit more anxious about returning, could come in and have a coffee and a snack with us. We then walked them through the new in-club journey to build their faith in our new policies. We sent a mailer and email about our policies and new prices and timings. We were also very active on Facebook throughout and posted a video of me and Tracey showing them our new customer journey through the club. It has certainly been busy! “But I didn’t want to leave it there, so we have also reached out to businesses in Swansea introducing a ‘local heroes’ offer for anyone that works in the town or marina and has helped, this included all our NHS/care workers. They are all invited into our club for a safe, socially distanced, fun bingo session. Most bingo clubs are such large venues that it makes keeping space between household groups relatively easy. “We have not stopped and I don’t think me and the team are done by a long way yet. Told you I really enjoyed my job!”

Each issue we will be profiling people who are part of the bingo universe, if you would like to nominate someone who you think would make an interesting candidate, then please email us at info@bingoconnect.co.uk


GamCare update

GamCare update TalkBanStop: A trio of free tools to help individuals stop gambling

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ockdown has been a troubling time for many people. To help individuals struggling to control their gambling, and that of their loved ones, GamCare have launched a new campaign called TalkBanStop, which encourages people to make the most of the free tools and support that are available this spring. Teaming up with Gamban and GAMSTOP, GamCare have combined free support and practical tools to help gamblers kick-start their recovery journey. This combination of tools and support, backed by the National Gambling Treatment Service, is vital to adding additional layers of protection for anyone struggling to control their gambling.

TALK: GamCare offers 24/7 support every day of the year through the National Gambling Helpline – over the phone, or live chat. Trained Advisers can offer support and expert advice about the tools on offer, as well as connecting callers to further support wherever they are in the UK. BAN: Gamban blocking software (to block access to gambling sites and apps on up to 15 devices) is now available free for anyone calling the National Gambling Helpline, or who use GamCare’s support and treatment services. Gamban can be used throughout a household. STOP: Free GAMSTOP self-exclusion, which blocks individuals from accessing their online gambling accounts or creating new ones, along with making sure that they don’t continue to receive direct marketing from gambling companies.

For more information visit www.gamcare.org.uk/talk/

Teaming up with the Samaritans GamCare have teamed up with Samaritans, the leading suicide prevention charity, to develop a suite of training materials for gambling businesses, in order to raise awareness of the risk of gambling-related suicide and to give gambling staff the skills and confidence to support customers who may be at risk. The training will identify some of the changes needed within the industry to reduce gambling related suicides, providing practical guidelines and training to gambling businesses so they can identify and support customers at risk of or experiencing harm. Gambling related harm is a risk factor for suicide

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and 11% of gamblers contacting the National Gambling Helpline in 2019/20 told GamCare they had experienced suicidal thoughts, either currently or in the past. Gamcare offer e-learning free-of-charge and faceto-face training modules for all gambling industry staff (including customer service teams, safer gambling teams and compliance teams) to promote greater awareness of gambling related suicide, the practises staff can apply to help prevent it and the skills to better identify vulnerable customers and support them. The resources also include training on how gambling staff can ensure they are taking care of their own wellbeing when supporting others.

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GamCare update

National Gambling Helpline lockdown update Lockdown has impacted everyone and created some challenging situations for many people as, forced to remain at home, people’s behaviour may have changed, perhaps for the worse. One area of concern during this time has been people’s engagement with gambling.

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hile bingo clubs and other licensed venues have remained closed for much of the past year, online gambling activities have remained available throughout. We asked GamCare, who deliver the National Gambling Helpline service, what their experiences had been in 2020 and early 2021 of numbers accessing support services and tools, in addition to the issues raised by users. The online and telephone services continued seamlessly through both lockdown periods, offering an opportunity to see, in real time, the effect of lockdown on the number of people accessing the service, the ways people chose to access support in managing their gambling behaviour, as well as seeking advice if concerned about a loved one. In common with other health and social care services we initially saw a reduction in people seeking help during the first weeks of lockdown, as well as a rise in callers asking for self-exclusion via GAMSTOP, however these trends have subsequently abated. The key concerns from service users included: • Privacy concerns, which may have driven a switch from phone to text-based support as the main way of accessing services following the lockdown announcement. • Engagement with group chatrooms increased. Anxieties about COVID were key themes of online conversations, alongside gambling-related issues. • Staff on our helpline flagged increased concern around domestic abuse being experienced by callers. Engagement remained high among those already in treatment, however fewer people started treatment during the lockdown period. / Spring2021

To help address the concerns of our service users, we launched the #ReadytoTalk campaign in June 2020. Working with three other national charities (Samaritans, Refuge and Cruse Bereavement Care to raise awareness of help and support services and remind people that our helplines were still available. Over the course of the campaign, we reached over 300,000 people via social media engagement, and a further 1 million people via media and stakeholder engagement. Campaign content was shared by MPs and several other prominent public figures, as well as through the Helplines, Partnership and other supporters. We perceive that the campaign has had an impact on phone calls to the Helpline over the last few months, although there may also be additional factors which need to be taken into account.


GamCare update

GamCare’s National Women’s Programme receives new funding GamCare has secured funding by the UKGC for delivery of the National Woman’s programme, part of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

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upported by the Tampon Tax Fund until March 2021, GamCare’s ground-breaking Women’s Programme is designed to gather and represent the experiences of women affected by gambling harms, to improve the accessibility of specialist support tailored to those identifying as female, and to ensure that organisations supporting women can confidently identify gambling harm and easily refer to the appropriate support services. Women can be disproportionately affected by gambling-related harms, experiencing financial, relationship and mental health issues. Operating throughout England, Scotland and Wales, the Women’s Programme is uncovering the negative impact of stigma faced by women and working to place women at the heart of the discussion. Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, says: “Gambling is still perceived as a predominantly ‘male’ activity, which can result in women experiencing greater harm as they may be reluctant to seek the support they need. GamCare

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is working to change this perception, as gambling can and does affect women in potentially life-changing ways. We have also found that women’s experiences of gambling are not generally understood within women’s support services – we are working with a wide network of organisations to improve this, and to better understand how gambling harms intersect with the range of other issues women experience. With this insight, we can ensure specialist gambling support services can better serve their needs.” GamCare’s learning from the first two years of delivering the Programme will ensure that a clear roadmap for the next two years, along with a robust evaluation framework which feeds into the National Strategy for Reducing Gambling Harms, can be implemented from April 2021. Lived experience of gambling harms will continue to be a cornerstone of the Programme.

More information on GamCare’s Women’s Programme is available at www.gamcare.org.uk/our-work/womens-programme/

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YGAM update

Gambling harm prevention programme launched A pioneering new education programme has been launched in Greater London and the Home Counties to raise awareness and address the issue of gambling harm disproportionately affecting young people from ethnic minority populations.

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he ‘Preventing Gambling Harms in Diverse Communities’ initiative has been developed through a unique collaboration between YGAM, TalkGEN CIC, Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC and Clearview Research. The prevention programme will deliver free specialist workshops to young people from ethnic minority populations aged 14–24, as well as free training to community and faith leaders. The programme content centres on an understanding of socio-cultural and religious contexts of shame and stigma relating to gambling harms. YouGov Research published in / Spring2021

2020 shows that 1 in 2 adults from ethnic minority backgrounds have gambled in the UK in the last 12 months, and around 1 in 4 of these past-year gamblers suffer significant gambling-related harm. Moreover, a 2019 study by Clearview Research on the young BAME perspective reported that 90% agreed that gambling is seen differently within their ethnic cultures than within white British cultures, and 95% of participants could not identify how they could access help for gambling harm. The three partner organisations have all been established by individuals who have personal lived experience of the harms and impact of gambling

addiction. The partners will channel their lived experience and insight into workshops that equip young people with the knowledge to recognise and prevent gambling harm and the confidence to support themselves and others through recovery. TalkGEN CIC and Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC will work collaboratively to maximise synergies and combine resources to create young person facing educational content, using insight from the YGAM and Clearview Research content cocreation sessions. The content will include culturally-specific gamblingharm awareness short films that cover different areas in the black and Asian communities as well as self-help information and age-appropriate signposting material. Over the twoyear pilot, 16,600 young people will be reached directly. Kishan Patel, 5th Year Medical Student at Imperial College and CEO at TalkGEN CIC said: “In general, young people today are increasingly growing up with finger-tip access and exposure to gambling products and advertisements online. Despite this, the vast majority are not aware of the sudden or insidious but potentially devastating effects of gambling harm. It’s just not talked about enough, especially in schools or GP surgeries, where it is desperately needed. The situation we have now is one where young people are vulnerable to harm from their gambling or a family member’s gambling, but sadly feel unable


YGAM update

to access help and support.” Tony Kelly is a former professional footballer and now CEO of Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC. Welcoming the launch of the programme, he said: “We are pleased to be working with YGAM and TalkGEN on this project, as I believe we share the same goals and vision. This initiative is very much needed as gambling addiction within these hard-to-reach communities is something that is still a taboo subject so it is important we break down that barrier of stigma. I hope to use my professional football career and my story to engage our young target audience on this topic. Coming from a Caribbean background myself, I hope many young people from the community will hear my voice as one they can listen and relate to.” Lee Willows, CEO of YGAM said “We’re proud to be part of this purposeful collaboration with lived experience and diversity at its heart. The project builds on the recommendations from the Clearview Research; ‘Gambling: The young BAME perspective’, commissioned by GambleAware in 2019.

“We’re proud to be part of this purposeful collaboration with lived experience and diversity at its heart.” YGAM will take the lead on the training of community and faith leaders who once trained will deliver the programme to young people. Over the two-year pilot, YGAM will aim to train 323 practitioners, who will in turn reach 18,050 young people in their care. With the talent, specialist insight and commitment from all partner organisations, I am confident that collectively we’ll deliver some helpful perspectives on how to engage with minority communities, contributing to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.” The programme will seek formal assured status from City & Guilds.

Clearview Research have been appointed to lead the creation of a Theory of Change model for the programme and will act as independent evaluation partners. Clearview Research also worked with YGAM in 2020 to undertake a comprehensive BAME Audit, working with the charity to co-create content specifically aimed at minority communities. The initiative has received funding from the Gambling Commission regulatory settlements and will contribute to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, specifically within the Prevention and Education priority area.

YGAM win national awards

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he Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) team have reason to celebrate after receiving national recognition for their education programmes on gaming and gambling harm. The charity recently won the PSHE Education Award at the Children & Young People Now Awards (hosted by the famous voice of Strictly Come Dancing, Alan Dedicoat). The PSHE Education Award honours organisations that ‘provide outstanding resources to educators for PSHE education, delivering materials and lesson plans that align cohesively with current national curriculum requirements.’ The specific praise for YGAM relates to its City & Guilds Assured training and resources provided to teachers and youth workers through the Young Peoples Gambling Harm Prevention Programme. YGAM scooped three more awards at the Digital Impact Awards. Alongside their design agency Me&You Creative, they picked up Silver Awards for ‘Best Communications during Covid-19’ and ‘Best use

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of Digital for Education’ followed by a Bronze Award for ‘Best use of Digital for a Charity’. These awards were in recognition of the substantial digital transformation of the YGAM resources which has enabled the team to continue to deliver their programmes during successive lockdowns. Reflecting on memorable achievements for the charity, YGAM Head of the National Programme Linda Scollins Smith said: “Our dedicated Education Team are absolutely delighted to receive this award in recognition of our PSHE Resources. We, as qualified teachers, wanted to ensure our resources were practical and easy to use for teaching staff and enjoyable for children and young people whilst addressing difficult topics such as mental health and addiction. As part of the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, we have been able to roll out these resources to teachers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. We receive consistently positive feedback from teachers and PSHE leads who say our purposeful resources allow them to address these topics meaningfully with the children they work with.”

Spring 2021 /


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YGAM update

Safer Gambling Training for UK operators launched Leading charities YGAM and Betknowmore have collaborated to develop a range of leading-edge training programmes for retail and digital licensed gambling operators and their employees working in customer-facing roles.

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he training, which can be delivered online and is all City & Guilds Assured, aims to strengthen player protection standards and effectively safeguard customers from harms. All training content is informed by ‘lived experience’ & relevant to the latest LCCP requirements. The training modules available include: • Understanding customer vulnerability in a gambling environment • Understanding gambling-related harms (2-part programme) • Understanding safeguarding & managing welfare issues relevant to gambling (2-part programme) • Enhanced skills for customer interactions (2-part programme) •  Awareness of Gambling Support Services • Health and wellbeing The new training can also be tailored for the specific needs, strategy, and customers of the operator. Lee Willows, Chief Executive of YGAM said “Our journey with Betknowmore UK has been humbling.

/ Spring2021

Together we have been fortunate to work with a number of operators to deliver face-to-face training over the last twelve months and so having a strategic alliance to continue this and combine with digital learning seems a good natural progression. Player protection and understanding customer vulnerability is an area we know operators want to upskill their staff in.” “Safer Gambling Training will support the customer facing teams by increasing their understanding of gambling-related harm through the lens of lived-

experience. We are working with international partners to scope an International Standard that colleagues within the sector can take with them throughout their career, and which includes regular mandatory updates and refresher courses.”

For more information, visit www.safergamblingtraining.com or email Ian Shanahan (ianshanahan@ygam.org) or Ben Davies (ben@betknowmoreuk.org)


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Profile for BingoAssociation

Bingo Connect Spring 2021 - Issue 1  

Welcome to Bingo Connect, the magazine for the bingo industry in the UK, and the official magazine of The Bingo Association. Bingo Connect c...

Bingo Connect Spring 2021 - Issue 1  

Welcome to Bingo Connect, the magazine for the bingo industry in the UK, and the official magazine of The Bingo Association. Bingo Connect c...

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