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BINGOLife Summer 2018 - Issue 27


All the key industry segmants highlighted


NEW National Bingo Game More prizes, more winners


Edward Thompson


BINGOLife Published by ACE Publishing Ltd

Editorial Editor in Chief - Glyn Thomas Mob: +380 952 705 596 glyn@ace123.com Editor - Miles Baron miles@ace123.com Associate Editor - Janice Chaka Guadalajara - janice@ace123.com

Correspondents Asia - Bill Healey bill@ace123.com Europe - Andrew Behan abehan@ace123.com International - Damien Connelly dconnelly@ace123.com UK - Naomi Green naomi@ace123.com USA - Jack Bulavsky Las Vegas - jack@ace123.com

Production Design - Stewart Hyde stewart@totaldesignworks.com www.totaldesignworks.com

Welcome to the Summer 2018 issue of Bingo Life. We start the season with news of new games, The Bingo Association’s Annual General Meeting, award wins and a review of online bingo research. We hope that you enjoy the issue and look forward to sharing more news and stories with you in our winter issue out in the year. If there is an idea or topic that you wish to share then be sure to let us know. Happy reading.

Webmaster and IT - Sudip Banjaree sb@ace123.com

May 30 - June 1, 2018

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Sales and Marketing

Where the Latin American business community meets

Subscriptions - Helen Holmes subs@ace123.com Publisher - Peter White Tel: +44 (0) 1892 740869 Mob: +44 (0) 7973 273714 pwhite@ace123.com

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02/03/2018 10:39



21 18

1 Welcome to Bingo Life Summer 2018 Miles Baron 3

Editor Foreword Miles Baron

5 Guest Comment Kate Chambers Managing Director Clarion Gaming 6

News Round Up

12 G2E Asia 2018 Show Preview 14 Online Bingo Report By: WhichBingo


18 More Prizes = More Winners! The New National Bingo Game 20 News: Responsible Gambling Week 2018 21 Variety Update ÂŁ1million pound target smashed with 6 months still to go 25 Feature: Edward Thompson Interview with Paddy Cronin, CEO of Edward Thompson 28 Feature: Shipley Creative Interview with Anthony Halliwell, General Manager at Shipley Creative 31 Feature: Carlton Stirling Refurbishment Interview with Club Manager, Craig Oliver



The Editorial policy: The views and opinions expressed in Bingo Life 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 ommissions 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 publishers’ written consent. Printed in the UK by Premier Print Group Ltd

issue 027


Chief Executive’s Foreword


he Bingo Association’s 2018 AGM is now complete: one of the best attended for many years, it is now time to draw breath. Equally satisfying was to see the industry’s record support for The Bingo Pavilion at ICE 2018, which continues to grow in size and we thank Edward Thompson and NRM for their sponsorship of the drinks receptions held there. Brexit uncertainty still hangs over all key government decision-making and the expected announcement on the Triennial Review is still eagerly anticipated at the time of writing. This delay is frustrating as we all want to move forward but is no doubt partially linked to Brexit and the need to protect tax revenues. GDPR remains an issue for operators, not least because there is a degree of uncertainty over the finer details as the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) regularly modifies its advice as it seeks to set out its expectations for business post 25th May. The BA advises anyone still harbouring doubts to contact the BA or its advisors (EY) immediately. The first quarter of the trading year was mixed with optimism and positivity mitigated by the impact of two bouts of snow and weeks later a short spell of recordbreaking unseasonably hot weather: an indication of the underlying vulnerability of the retail leisure market to extremes of weather. The National Bingo Game Association, sister organisation to The Bingo Association launched its new 50 number format offline game on 30th April, with 80% of all licensed premises signed up. The industry said goodbye to the troubled Live Game with some relief and our thanks go out to members for their loyalty and support of the National Bingo Game Association over the last year. The Bingo Association, after three years or more of helping members to absorb a wide range of regulatory measures and socially responsible licensing conditions is turning its focus to stimulating interest in commercial affairs and innovation. This is partly through necessity and partly through the fact that the message should now have got through to all operators: Social Responsibility is now a part of everyday business. An initial meeting in March this year, open to all operators, took place in Northampton regarding innovation and horizon scanning. This saw the start of the new debate, but it www.bingolifemagazine.com

Miles Baron, Chief Executive, The Bingo Association

was only the start; there is much more to come as we develop this theme during the rest of 2018. In January The Bingo Association stepped in to support one of its key suppliers, ISD, with a three month co-operation agreement. ISD developed the Maxim membership system along with the bingo industry selfexclusion software and is therefore of vital importance to the licensed bingo industry. Meeron Limited, a commercial subsidiary of The National Bingo Game, is in advanced negotiations to purchase ISD on behalf of the bingo industry keeping it in secure and independent hands for the future. And finally, with social responsibility increasingly embedded in all we do, 2018 will see an independent evaluation of all gambling industry self-exclusion schemes and their effectiveness. The Bingo Association believes that it has a robust scheme. While it needs constant close management and can always be improved, with member support we can prove that the bingo industry has a flagship system that genuinely protects customers. Further evidence of this was provided by the fact that Cherry Hosking, the Association’s Company Secretary was awarded ‘2018 Compliance Officer of the Year’ at this year’s Global Gambling Compliance Awards. I am sure that everyone joins me in congratulating Cherry on her much deserved win. 3

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The culture of collaboration


larion Gaming recently announced a series of really stand-out statistics following the completion of an independent and certified audit of ICE London. The official figures confirmed an 11 percent uplift in attendance to a record 33,536, a double-digit increase in the number of visitors travelling to London from North America (+33 percent), Africa (+ 23 percent) and South East Asia (+18 percent), with an incredible 153 nations represented during the three days at ExCeL London. While it would be tempting to claim all of the credit for attracting nearly as many nations as those recognised by the UN, the truth of the matter is that the success enjoyed by ICE London, and the reason why this event is the most successful in world gaming, is due to the culture of collaboration that exists between us as organisers and a large community of hardworking and dedicated partners which includes both the Bingo Association and of course, Bingo Life. The partnership that we enjoy has resulted in the creation of the hugely popular and highly successful Bingo Pavilion. Thanks to the Pavilion, the land-based bingo sector now enjoys a home (or should I say House?) at the world’s biggest gaming event. This partnership has enabled us to develop something that the market wants and needs and, if the Pavilion serves to attract more gaming professionals to ICE London and enhances the customer experience, then we are all more than happy. Partnerships run through everything that we try and deliver on behalf of the industry. Juegos Miami, which we are staging across May 30 – June 1, was created to meet the precise needs, and at the requests, of the Pan Latin American and Caribbean gaming industry. Similarly, the decision to co-locate Juegos Miami alongside the North American facing GiGse event brand was made following requests from the market. We will also be hosting the largest event in iGaming, iGB Live!, for the first time in July, a direct result of responding to market wants and needs. Perhaps one of the most notable examples of the power of partnerships will be seen in October when we launch ICE Africa in www.bingolifemagazine.com

Kate Chambers Managing Director, Clarion Gaming

Johannesburg. This is the first time that we have taken the ICE brand outside of the UK and, once again, we are working in partnership with all sections of the industry based on a continent that has a population of 1.6 billion and is one of the most exciting regions for the development of the industry. To quote Henry Ford, ‘Coming together is a beginning; staying together is progress, and working together is success.’ For more information on all of the Clarion Gaming owned events and brands, visit: www. clariongaming.com Kate Chambers Managing Director, Clarion Gaming 5


The Bingo Pavilion @ ICE 2018 The Bingo Pavilion at this year’s ICE Gaming Expo, held in London’s ExCel in February, was a great success for exhibitors and delegates. With the continued support of ICE organiser Clarion and Association members Cowells Arrow, Edward Thompson, Leisure Electronics, NRM and Shipley Creative, the Bingo Pavilion become a key destination and meeting point for delegates attending the show from the land-based bingo sector. The success of last year’s evening drinks reception, which allowed members and invited guests to catch up over an end of day drink, led to drinks being held on both the Tuesday and Wednesday evening, sponsored this year by NRM and Edward Thompson. Both evenings were well attended, with the Pavilion full to capacity. Over the last four years, the Association has been working with Clarion events to build the profile and presence of the land-based bingo sector at ICE.

Thanks to the increasing support of members and industry suppliers the sector’s presence is slowly increasing, with The Bingo Association expecting the sector to take on more space and increased profile for 2019. The importance of the show, both nationally and internationally, is underlined by the fact that this year’s show hosted 411 regulators from 65 jurisdictions. The 2019 event is set to run at London ExCel from 5th-7th February 2019. www.icetotallygaming.com

Apollo Barrow teams up with Ultimate Events for: The Ultimate POP Festival Apollo Bingo Barrow have teamed up with Ultimate Events UK Ltd and will be the main sponsors of this year’s Ultimate Pop Festival to be held at Craven Park, Barrow-In-Furness on Sunday 26th August. The Ultimate POP Festival event has become hugely popular: last year Atomic Kitten, A1 and Kevin Simm, the winner of The Voice UK, were among the star acts performing along with Katie Price, aka Jordan. The is year the headline acts are confirmed as The Vengaboys, 5IVE, S Club, and Kevin Simm, with more to be announced. At the time of going to press Kerry Katona had been confirmed as compare for the festival, which promises to be a fun packed day. Dave Marsden, General Manager of Apollo Bingo Barrow, which has been very much a part of the local community for 19 years, said, “We’re proud to offer our full support to this year’s Ultimate Pop Festival. It’s important to get behind events like these, they put Barrow on the map and provide fun and quality entertainment for everyone. We share the same ethos when it comes to making sure 6

customers enjoy themselves every time they visit their local bingo club. We’re looking forward to working with Denis and Beth, who are behind Ultimate Events, to make this year’s Festival the best yet!” For more information and to book tickets visit www.ultimateeventsuk.com issue 027


Rank Cares: £1.8m milestone reached for Carers Trust Team members from The Rank Group Plc, which owns Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos, have celebrated reaching the incredible and significant fundraising milestone of £1,800,000 for the charity Carers Trust. The partnership between Carers Trust and The Rank Group first began in February 2014: since then, employees nationwide have worked hard to raise as much money as possible by undertaking various charity initiatives and fundraising activities within local communities. Thanks to the relentless dedication of the teams and fantastic support from their customers nationwide, Rank has achieved this remarkable milestone and hopes to pass the £2m mark in 2018. Henry Birch, former CEO of The Rank Group Plc, commented, “Carers Trust is an organisation that is close to the heart of many of our employees and it gives me a great sense of pride to know that collectively we have been able to make such a strong contribution to the charity. “Our teams have worked extremely hard throughout the course of the year to run charity fundraising activities to help us achieve this impressive milestone and without their dedication and the incredible support from the communities nationwide, such an www.bingolifemagazine.com

achievement just wouldn’t have been possible. “We’re delighted to know that we have contributed in some way to the invaluable help the charity offers, and will continue our fundraising endeavours to ensure Carers Trust can carry on assisting the amazing unpaid carers who desperately need their support.” Giles Meyer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, said, “We are overwhelmed by the fundraising efforts of Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo. They have gone above and beyond once again and we’re delighted to continue our partnership into 2018. The reality is that three in five of us will become carers at some point in our lives, and with seven million carers in the UK already, staff fundraising plays a crucial part in providing the support carers desperately need.” The funds raised will go towards Rank Cares Grant Funds which were set up to provide financial support to carers aged 16 and above. The aim of these grants is to help remove the barriers placed on a person by their caring role. To date the funds raised have helped over 8,500 carers. For more information on Carers Trust please visit www.carers.org 7


Award Winning Compliance: The Bingo Association’s Cherry Hosking wins Compliance Officer of The Year

Cherry Hosking, Company Secretary of The Bingo Association, won Compliance Officer of The Year at the Gambling Compliance Global Regulatory Awards, held at The Sheraton Grand, Park Lane, London on Wednesday 18th April. The Award acknowledges an outstanding compliance professional that always goes beyond the call of duty and has embraced the compliance function within their organisation, implementing it effectively with enthusiasm and vigour. Judges were looking for an exemplary individual who pro-actively embraces the compliance function, and who reacts to regulatory developments positively in their role. The Judges found that person in Cherry. Well-known to many bingo operators, Cherry diligently goes about her work and has ensured that Association members are kept fully up to date on regulatory issues, championing compliance. Cherry was quite unprepared for the room’s riotous response to the announcement of her win, having only recently discovered that she had been nominated. Following the presentation of her Award Cherry said, 8

“I am delighted to have won the Award, particularly amongst such strong contenders in the category: while honored to have been nominated, I didn’t expect to win! “The breadth of work involved in managing the compliance function has substantially increased in recent years and is an issue impacting operators, regardless of scale. I have found my role in leading and enabling both challenging and rewarding.” 2017 was the first full year of the bingo industry’s self–exclusion scheme, which launched in March 2016. The scheme has grown to become a robust and powerful tool in the armory of licensed bingo operators wishing to assist customers with any gambling-related harm. The scheme is managed by Cherry on a daily basis, supporting around 70 operator companies who participate in the scheme. When not managing and perfecting the bingo self–exclusion scheme Cherry also manages age verification testing across the sector, advises members on LCCP changes and has also liaised on behalf of the industry over the introduction of the new £1 coin and £5 an £10 bank notes: these roles are all in addition to being Company Secretary for two commercial subsidiaries of the Association. issue 027

NEWS ROUND UP Miles Baron, Chief Executive, The Bingo Association said: “I am thrilled that Cherry’s work and significant contribution to the industry been recognised by this Award: when things go well, people don’t always notice and can take it for granted. “From the bingo clubs to the holiday parks, and even the odd snooker club, Cherry provides regulatory support and advice on a number of levels. Members like things that save them time and money, and keep them compliant. The bingo self-exclusion scheme is highly effective and does all of these things. Cherry has put in place a process that provides support to all Association members and has brought together the compliance specialists from around the bingo industry, forming a highly effective team that shares industry best-practice

and experiences through the Association’s Standing Compliance Committee. It is an Award well-earned and much deserved.” The Bingo Association represents nearly 600 licensed bingo operating premises and over 70 operating companies. It is a broad church with a mixture of the corporate and very independent: those with infrastructure and those with none. The Global Regulatory Awards are run annually by Gambling Compliance and have a total of fifteen individual categories, all relating to aspects of compliance in the gambling industry. For further information on the awards visit gamblingcomplianceawards.com

The Meccarena: Mecca Bingo celebrates 25 years of the Macarena With Los Del Rio’s one hit wonder Macarena celebrating 25 years since topping the charts, Mecca Bingo has created its own version of the dance phenomenon, the Meccarena, in homage to the monster hit. Professional dancer Kristina Rihanoff has been working with Mecca Bingo to launch a series of videos to help coach the nation on how to perfect the moves to the popular dance floor filler. Starring in the videos are dance novices: Simon Webbe ex-bingo caller and member of Blue, Jordan Davies from ITV2’s Ibiza Weekender, and Dean Fagan who played Luke Britton in Coronation Street, who under the watchful eye of Kristina are hoping to perfect their moves for Mecca Bingo’s Meccarena Dance Story. Culminating in a dance off, the three boys battled it out to see who had the best Meccarena moves on the dance floor. The dance off has been featured across Mecca Bingo’s social media channels, with fans then voting for who they think nailed the routine the best. It was a close call but Jordan Davies was crowned champion. Commenting on their involvement in the campaign, Jordan Davies, said, “I always like to think I’m the best dancer on the dance floor, but after my lessons with Kristina I realised that I was pretty much a classic dad dancer before! While Simon Webbe definitely did not consider himself a natural.” www.bingolifemagazine.com

Caroline Webb, from Mecca Bingo, said, “No matter whether you like the track or not, it’s more than likely you still know all the lyrics and dance moves! It’s catchy, and we generally associate the one hit wonder with a happy memory, which is why we chose the Macarena as the track to feature on our latest campaign.” “Kristina has done a fantastic job of coaching the boys, it’s fair to say there were a few interesting interpretations of what they thought the moves were at the start. Now they’ve nailed it, it’s time for the rest of the nation to get their dancing shoes on and dancing the Meccarena.” To watch the videos and learn the moves, Mecca Bingo have be shared the ‘how to videos’ with Kristina, Simon, Jordan and Dean on YouTube. 9


The Bingo Association Annual General Meeting 2018 The Association’s 2018 Annual General Meeting took place on Wednesday 25th April at the Hippodrome Casino, London. This year’s meeting was exceptionally well attended with over 100 delegates joining the day’s proceedings. The closed official meetings were held in the morning, followed by lunch after which presentations were given by a range of invited speakers. Chief Executive, Miles Baron, opened the meeting and gave an update on The Association and the National Bingo Game, before touching upon key items for the coming year. The Bingo Association continues to represent the majority of the licensed bingo industry (97%), with 585 members in total, of which 346 are retail clubs. In the year ahead The Association will be taking an external focus and looking firmly to the future horizon and innovation, while continuing to engage with MPs and champion charity support. Key items/dates for the year ahead included age verification from May, Variety 10

Golf Day 24th May, Charity Week week commencing 3rd September, and Responsible Gambling Week 2018 from 1st – 7th November. The first presentation was from Rob Wheeler of Agile Gaming, exploring cashless payment processes and apps, and how the industry could look to benefit further from developments, working within existing regulation. Olly Raeburn, Chief Marketing Officer at Rank Group, then shared an update on Luda, Rank’s new high street venue concept, previously reported on in Bingo Life. To date three sites have been launched in Walsall, WestonSuper-Mare and Leeds. A key issue has been clearly defining the proposition for the customer, which has given rise to each of the current three locations exploring slightly different offerings: one towards community activities (a hub for events such as quizzes, coffee mornings, etc.) and another a high street café. Until the offering has been more clearly defined no further sites are planned. issue 027

NEWS ROUND UP Launching a new high street business is never easy and launching a new high street concept even less so, but what is clear is that bingo has lost none of its magic and appeal. For some, particularly younger audiences, the traditional format has little appeal: if bingo is to tap into new audiences it must evolve formats. Ryan Farley, Chief Executive Officer at JudoPay, then continued the theme of evolution and new formats, exploring how consumer behaviour has changed and how technology is blending social, payment and retail activities together. Consequently, consumers increasingly want integrated leisure choices, where locations and venues are entertainment specific, rather than specific to a single activity, citing The Ned in London as a great example, both in respect of an integrated leisure venue and how the right offering can put a location on the map. Audiences increasingly want an activity that is an experience they can engage with and share. The competition for attention, time and spend in the leisure market is fierce and to be successful offerings and businesses need to engage, delight and enthuse. The final presenter of the day was a face familiar to many in the room: Angus Nisbet, Managing Director of Playtech – Bingo. Having previously worked operatorside at a range of companies including Mecca and Gala, Angus’ present role is in development and platform management for Playtech. Angus gave an overview of how online bingo has evolved, reminding us that initially online bingo was viewed as a competitor that stood to cannibalise the land-based business, rather than the complimentary product it is viewed as today. Playtech is a gambling software development company, founded in 1999, that provides software for online casinos, online poker rooms, online bingo games, online sports betting, scratch games, mobile gaming, live dealer games and fixed-odds arcade games online. Virtue Fusion, an online bingo specific platform and company, was acquired by Playtech in 2010. In recent years bingo has not been a focus product for Playtech, something that Angus is set to change. The 2016 purchase of ECM Systems, a leading provider of equipment and software to the land-based bingo industry has also added to Playtech’s position as a leading provider and developer of bingo software. Presentations complete, delegates finished the day with drinks in The Heliot Bar before the day closed. www.bingolifemagazine.com

Best Entertainment Award at Roman Bank Roman Bank Bingo is proud to have been awarded a runner up position for ‘Best Entertainment’ in the 2017 Skegness Business Awards. The club has been serving the Skegness community since 1962 when the building was converted into a bingo hall. “Seaside bingo appeals across the generations and to both holidaymakers and locals alike,” says Jason Beauchamp– Hughes, General Manager of the club. Jason Beauchamp–Hughes

“We always look pictured with Finalist award forward to welcoming back our returning holiday-makers and helping to make their stays memorable and fun as well as ensuring we keep the locals entertained the whole year through! Our Beach Party Jamboree held in July last year was a day that will be remembered by regulars and customers from visiting clubs for a long time. It was a sell-out event with customers coming by the coach load from our sister clubs across the country.” The Awards saw 30 finalists competing for the top spot in one of ten categories. Roman Bank was competing in the Best Entertainment category, against Skegness Pier and Grosvenor House Hotel Events, who won. Jason continued, “Whilst we would have loved the winner’s title we were genuinely thrilled to get to this stage with our very first award submission. “Events like these are really important to recognise the contribution businesses make to the community - in more ways than one! I’d like to thank the judges for the opportunity and congratulate everyone who was shortlisted and of course all the winners.” Roman Bank Bingo is owned by Majestic Bingo Limited, the UK’s third largest operator of retail bingo. 11


G2E Asia 2018 will Highlight all the Key Industry Segments Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia, the must-attend marketplace for the Asian gaming-entertainment industry, returns this May to deliver a three-day showcase of leading-edge products, services and technologies. Its upcoming twelfth edition – for which 95% of show space has already been booked – is set to return to Macau, the heart of Asian gaming. Widely renowned as one of the world’s fastest-growing gaming regions, Macau recently marked its 17th consecutive month of year-on-year gaming revenue growth this past December. The region’s 2017 accumulated gross gaming revenue currently stands at MOP265.74 billion (US$33.02 billion), a staggering MOP43 billion (US$5.34 billion) annual increase. G2E Asia 2018 will feature four key industry segments across sprawling and interactive event halls that boast a remarkable 30% increase in size. With the development of digital technology, more innovations 12

will be applied to improve the overall participation experience. G2E Asia will implement a comprehensive marketing promotion plan that engages industry professionals from all sectors, including segmented e-newsletters, social media promotion campaign and online matchmaking services that will be able to encompass a wide range of components attached to a public relations campaign. G2E Asia is expecting around 15,000 local and international visitors to its 2018 edition. The latest addition, Asia Lottery Expo and Forum – held concurrently with G2E Asia – will offer a unique opportunity for professionals to meet the who’s who of Asia-Pacific’s fast-growing lottery industry. For more information on the Asia Lottery Expo and Forum, please visit www.asialotteryexpo.com. Integrated Resort Technology & Business Solutions segment centralizes the region’s needs for sourcing new IR products, technologies and services that drive issue 027

NEWS: G2E ASIA SHOW PREVIEW revenue and value from non-gaming sources. It offers unprecedented networking opportunities with key decision makers from Asian integrated resorts and will showcase a broad array of solutions for attracting visitors beyond gaming purists and diversifying revenue streams.

Fuli Gaming, “It offers an excellent platform for us to promote our cutting-edge products. The result of last year was excellent as we concluded business with buyers, and we are looking forward to G2E Asia 2018.”

Digital Content & Technology will feature a combined exhibitor showcase of digital game development and technology providers, together with a full-day forum dedicated exclusively to digital content technology. This exciting addition is slated to serve as a hub for Asia’s gaming technology community. The Parts and Components Pavilion, Asia’s only trade platform dedicated to the showcase of parts and components of the electronic gaming machine manufacturing industry, attracts R&D engineers, product designers, buyers and technical designers spanning across all aspects of game manufacturing, including slots and electronic table games.

Josephine Lee, Chief Operating Officer of Reed Exhibitions Greater China, notes, “Over the past decade, G2E Asia has improved and expanded with each successive edition, and 2018 will be no exception. This year will broaden its reach even further with highlights of four key segments. We will continue to internationalize the event and enrich the exhibition by diversifying the content. It is my utmost pleasure to welcome our industry leaders and peers from Asia Pacific and around the globe to be part of G2E Asia 2018!” G2E Asia 2018 visitor pre-registration is now open. For further information on G2E Asia 2018, visit www.g2easia.com.

“G2E Asia is always the most important trade platform for Asian gaming and entertainment industry.” Said by Stanley C., the Customer Service Manager of

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TV and Media Spend 2017 TV and Media Spend 2017


Which Bingo? Annual Report 2018

Year on year ad spend for the online bingo category decreased 12% Year on vs year ad spend for the online bingoand category decreased in 2017 2016, with investment in press door drops tailing12% off, in 2017 vs 2016, with investment in press and door drops tailing off, and TV advertising slipping by 19%. At the same time operators have and TV their advertising slipping by 19%. At the time operators upped investment in digital media bysame a whopping 84%. have upped their investment in digital media by a whopping 84%.


Top 10 brands advertising on TV hichBingo, established in 2000, is the From the estimated £38.3m* spent advertising Top 10 brands advertising on TVon TV UK’s leading independent online bingo for the period of January to December 2017, the top 10 From the estimated £38.3m* spent on TV advertising advertisers andofbrands aretoshown in table 1. most review website, providing the for the period January December 2017, the top 10

extensive online bingo advertisers and brands are shown in directory table 1. in the Highlights UK, as well as providing reviews, information and offers • Total value of spend continued to drop to £38.3m in for a totalHighlights of2017 412from bingo sites. 2016 in the same period January £45.4m • Total value of spend in continued to drop to £38.3m in to December. 2017 from £45.4m in 2016 in the same period January

First published in 2016, the Which Bingo Online Bingo to December. • Mirroring 2016’s figures, the top 10awaited brands contributed Annual Report has become an eagerly ‘state of to nearly 95% of figures, all TV spend for10the period, with the • Mirroring 2016’s the top contributed the nation’ report, covering all aspects ofbrands the business, top 5 contributing toTV nearly three of all TVthe to nearly 95% ofofalloperator spend for quarters the period, with encompassing analysis media spend, SEO spend. top 5 contributing to nearly three quarters of all TV brand visibility, social media, player research, technical spend. • Tombola continue to lead the way on(M&A) TV, outspending developments, mergers and acquisition and theall#2inranking brand by over compliance: all a comprehensive report and key • Tombola continue to lead the £4 waymillion. on TV, outspending the #2 ranking brand by over £4highlights million. and reading material. Here we report • Brands notably absent fromthe advertising on TV in some of the2017 key(but findings. did in 2016) include bet365 Bingo, Costa

• Brands notably absent from advertising on TV in Bingo, Heart andinclude Sun Bingo. 2017 (but didBingo in 2016) bet365 Bingo, Costa Online bingo hadHeart its fair share Bingo, Bingo and of Sunshock Bingo.and surprise Tombola moments in 2017, and the Report predicts that 2018 Tombola have consistentyear in their to TV will continue to be anbeen interesting asapproach the impact Tombola creative, sticking with the sameinvoiceover artist and music, Tombolain have been consistent theirWith approach to TV of M&A activity 2017 flows through. further but with sticking a refreshed pushing the community angle creative, withcreative the same voiceover artist and music, changes and to come this and at play some of the larger showing thatyear, youcreative can even online bingo around but with a refreshed pushing the community angle the camp fire!that operators, the sector will standing stillbingo in 2018. and showing younot canbe even play online around

the camp fire! According to figures reviewed in Neilson’s Addynamix, In addition to providing player insights and their own tombola were also thereviewed only brand recordedAddynamix, to have spent According to figures in Neilson’s research on and analysis, Which Bingo invited highly out of home and door drops last year, and they tombola were also the only brand recorded to have doubled spent power too.last year, regardeddown industry experts toradio contribute their and on outon of the home and of door drops andviews they doubled

opinions:down Nickon Harrison from creative and media agency the with power of radio too. Not content dominating the online bingo category Home, Ben Robinson a seasoned expert inad the M&A spend, tombola arcade was also a frequent break filler Not content with dominating the online bingo category sector, Michael Hewitt from SEO specialist through 2017, with investment fromStickyeyes, spend, tombola arcade was also arising frequent ad£3.7m. break to filler The creative execution for theirview slots£3.7m. ads the shares plus Luke£4.2m. Brynley-Jones gives his on through 2017, with who investment rising from to the same voiceover and music as the havethe state of social medial. £4.2m. The creative execution forbingo their ads slotsand adswill shares

provided a powerful halo effect theirads core bingo same voiceover and music as thefor bingo and will offering. have

aarcade powerful effect for core bingo TV andprovided Media Spend Tombola also halo sponsored ‘I’mtheir A Celebrity Getoffering. Me of Here’, creative that promoted TelevisionOut remains a running popular channel, even in today’s Tombola arcade also sponsored ‘I’m cross A Celebrity Gettheir Me partnership with ITV. Their usethat of across dailyoperators competition, increasingly world and online Outweb-driven of Here’, running creative promoted their with £10,000 prizes and winners announced in the ‘I’m ITV. Their it, usewith of a daily competition, A have not partnership been shy with about using an estimated with £10,000 prizes and winners announced spend of £38.3m for the period January to in the ‘I’m A December 2017.

The report highlights that: 6 • Total value of spend continued to drop to £38.3m 6 from £45.4m in 2016 in the same period, in 2017 January to December. • Mirroring 2016’s figures, the top 10 brands contributed to nearly 95% of all TV spend for the 14

Table 1 - TV Ad spend 2017 Table Ad spend 2017 No. 1 - TV Brand

Spend £m 11.3 £m Spend

1 No.

Tombola Brand

2 1

Gala Bingo Tombola

7.2 11.3

3 2

Jackpotjoy Gala Bingo

3.5 7.2

4 3

Sky Bingo Jackpotjoy

3.3 3.5

5 4

Foxy Bingo Sky Bingo

3.1 3.3

6 5

Sun FoxyBingo Bingo

2.9 3.1

7 6

Wink Bingo Sun Bingo

2.3 2.9

8 7

Coral Wink Bingo

1.0 2.3

9 8

Fabulous Bingo Coral Bingo

0.9 1.0

10 9

Pick Me Up Bingo Fabulous Bingo

0.7 0.9


Pick Me Up Bingo


*Figures are taken from Neilson’s Addynamix. *Figures are taken from Neilson’s Addynamix.

period, with the top contributing three Celebrity Get Me Out of 5 Here’ ad break wastoannearly inventive quarters of all TV spend. use of the inventory. Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ ad break was an inventive use of the inventory.

• Gala Tombola continue to lead the way on TV, Gala adopted a reasonably cautious brand approach 2017,£4 with Gala outspending the #2 ranking byinover million. TV dropping off bycautious around £1m, whileinCoral Galaspends adopted a reasonably approach 2017,picked with up slackdropping with TV off investment increasing from £200k to TVthe spends by around £1m, while Coral • £1m. Brands notably absent from advertising on picked TV in up the slack with TV investment increasing from £200k to

2017 (but present in 2016) include bet365 Bingo, £1m. Gala eked out ‘Galalala’ through January and February Costalaunching Bingo, their Heart Bingo and Sun Bingo. before fairground Gala eked out ‘Galalala’fantastical through January and‘Happy February Happens at Gala’ ad in March. The brand continues before launching their fantastical fairground ‘Happy using the parodied Steam song, buton this an instrumental While Mecca was TVtime forasthe majority of
 Happens at Gala’ adabsent in March. The brand continues using version andlaunched with a ‘live’ video tocampaign continue to on 2017, they aband brand-new TV the parodied Steam song, but in thisthe time as an instrumental build thewith pre-awareness related thetotune. versiononand a ‘live’ band in thewith video continue to

26th December bringing back the heart and soul of the ontheir the pre-awareness with the 90’sbuild withsaw Macarena spin-off creative, also reported 2017 Gala continue to related run creative thattune. supported with TV shows too, including Emerdale, on partnerships in this issue of Bingo Life. 2017 saw Gala continue to run creative that supported Coronation andshows The Chase. partnershipsStreet with TV too, including Emerdale,

Coronation Streetup and Thelion Chase. While stillBingo taking the share of media budgets, Coral linear TVBingo spend dropped by 16% in 2017, with brands Coral went for a TV burst strategy; 3 x 2-month Coral Bingo bursts ofmore activity year,strategy; compared to justbefore. one in investing inthrough digital platforms than Coral Bingo went for a TVthe burst 3 xever 2-month ITVbursts still take the lion share television at in51%, of activity through the of year, comparedspend, to just one with Sky’s share increasing by 4% to 40% and Channel 4 steady at 13%: TV spend by day shows that whilst brands are likely to have different day of the week strategies, weekends are favoured the least.

SEO Visibility Search engine visibility is a key activity for many organisations, whether a purely online business or bricks and mortar too. issue 027

SEO Visibility of Bingo Brands NEWS: ONLINE BINGO REPORT Table 5 - Brand visibility




Keywords ranking

Weighted average rank

% Pos. 1 clicks

Keyword %







































































As many keywords have declined, one has grown Social Media it is reflection of the sheer powerfactors of this one Always a What about the role of links?people and toInstead, rule them al:la bingo! Whilst brand-related hot topic: designed to connect keyword, andreputation how it has grown to dominate market tobuild a communities, The role that backlinks have played in search engine results, such as trust, and proposition seemthe to be the various channels and platforms point where brandprominent can become one of prominent particularly in a market such as bingo, has been becoming evena more factors in the howmost Google should be key drivers for all bingo businesses, online or the subject purelysites on the basisthe of this term. technical issues of much discussion. Since the roll-out of the Penguin judges against competition, not. A handful of online bingo companies are rising to algorithm in 2012, designed to ‘clean up’ SEO practices, also impact, while the debate on the value of backlinks the challenge of social media by publishing engaging, matters the importance and prominence of links has diminished forSustainable online bingo SEO sitesstill continues. non-salesy content and creating large communities The way in which this one keyword can influence the somewhat. market isrankings typifiedacross by the the visibility of Crown Bingo, which of fans. The majority, though, are still stuck in a lonely Analysing 319 largest trafficcreating little engagement and ranksnon-brand in second position Our analysisworld of self-promotion, driving keywordsforinthe theterm online'bingo'. bingo market, That doesn’t mean to say that backlinks don’t have an poor cohesion. suggests that this one keyword accounts for a staggering Stickeyes determined which brands are successfully

influence, but it is generally more difficult to correlate

99.5% oftraffic the brand’s non-brand generating from allorganic important organictraffic. search, and links with rankings than it once was. There are now so Of those sites it right the report reveals aand user experience, which brands are failing to secure all-important ranking manygetting other factors, from reputational Crown Bingo ranks for just 60 of the 319 keywords in ourleading pack whichtoincludes Gala content Bingo, Tombola, positions. through proposition, and technical factors, that analysis – the lowest keyword coverage of any of the 25 most Mecca Bingo andaSky Bingo, who awaysearch rankings. all play much bigger roleare inmoving influencing •  The 319 biggest keywords bingo visible brands – and just fourinofthe theonline brand’s 60 rankings are from publishing thinly veiled adverts and are instead market generate search of 285,833, of first-page positions.a See tablevolume 5. experimenting innovative Facebook Whatwith we see from thenew analysis (in tablefeatures 6) of the ten most which ‘bingo’ accounts for 38.5% of the entire such as live video and 360° images to drive reach and It is clear that visible brands are very different linking profiles. searchkeyword market. coverage alone is not necessarily a measure Whilst engagement. Key findings for theand fourPaddy primary platforms two brands, Gala Bingo Power, both have incredibly of how sustainable a brand’s SEO strategy is, it does diverse backlink profiles, with more than 31,000 linking root were as follows: •  The keyword ‘bingo’ seen enormous highlight the extent to has which a brand could be exposed to domains each, whilst competing brands have significantly less. growth
over course of 2017, with search volume Even even relativelythe modest fluctuations in search rankings. Facebook increasing by 36,000 year-on-year, whilst other a small drop from position two to position three could see Linkremains quality is on the lowsocial side, with an average • Facebook bygenerally far the most active prominent keywordsdrop havebydeclined. the brand’s visibility more than one fifth (22.7%). quality score of 15%. media link channel used by online bingo brands. •  Search for terms ‘freeand bingo’ in seen This isn’t volume a particularly newsurrounding phenomenon, we have The power of brand, and the challenge for affiliates particular have declined notably, as brands both in theseem bingotomarket and in similar sectors where the • The average audience size for the top ten brands (by One story this analysis also seems to year, show is that brand place less emphasis on offering ‘free’ versions of fan numbers) hasthat increased 16% over the past market is disproportionately focused around one or two reputation and proposition appear to be major factors in their games.
 with Tombola attracting 31k new fans, Gala Bingo high-volume keywords, that brands can rank prominently at this search market, and this has implications for bingo 19k and Mecca Bingo 16k. any given point in time. • The decline of the search term ‘bingo sites’ is affiliates in particular. perhaps
an that brand is playing greater The challengeindication for any brand is to ensure thatathey are • The largest percentage Facebook audience growth role in thethat customer journey, andlonger may be a trend Just two affiliate sites, WhichBingo and FreeBingo.co.uk, sustaining visibility over the term by building was achieved by Heart Bingo (+37%), Sky Bingo that rankings is most likely impact affiliate brands in in the top twenty most visible brands overall in this their acrosstothe full breadth of the keyword market, (29%) appear and Lucky Pants Bingo (+24%). thissupplementing space. market, and all affiliates in this market face specific challenges and this with a strong brand presence. www.bingolifemagazine.com 15

NEWS: ONLINE BINGO REPORT Twitter • Twitter is maintained by nine of the top ten online bingo brands, but audience growth has almost flatlined over the past year. • Follower numbers increased just 7% on average, reflecting the prevailing industry view that Twitter is not greatly used by online bingo players. Instagram • Instagram audiences grew by 45% during 2017, but this needs to be seen in context. • The top 8 online bingo brands on Instagram only have 13,000 followers between them and engagement levels are very low. • It may be growing, but Instagram isn’t yet setting the world of online bingo alight. YouTube • YouTube continues to be used as a repository of TV ads and competition videos, used as a hosting facility rather than a marketing opportunity.

• The majority of people play on a single device, with mobile increasingly becoming the most popular. • Increase in bingo app usage, thanks to Google Play Store on Android finally allowing gambling apps. • Huge change in attitudes towards deposit bonuses, with most preferring fairer, no-wagering options. The full 34-page report goes on to cover Sites and Software, Mobile, M&A, and Compliance, concluding with predictions from Christopher Dean Head of Bingo at Yggdrasil, Jeremy Bygrave CEO at 8Ball Games Ltd, Simon Collins Founder of Gaming Realms and William Conboy
Head of Marketing Communications at Stickyeyes. To read the report in full please visit: www.whichbingo.co.uk/reports/

The report highlights that to succeed on social media in 2018, brands must re-focus on building a genuine community by posting topical, useful content and by running campaigns that drive ‘real’ conversations. Increasing the use of live and video content, which is prioritised in the Facebook newsfeed, is also likely to drive positive results.

Online Players There is much anecdotal comment on players’ behaviours and motives, and no shortage of supposition, none of which is a substitute for hard data. The WhichBingo Player Survey goes into quite some detail: demographic, membership, spending and withdrawal, devices used, bonuses, playing habits and player psychology. Key findings • Online bingo continues to attract a younger audience, with the majority of players loyal to a small number of brands. • More than a third of players play online bingo every day, but the length of time spent playing is getting shorter. • £50 is the magic number:
most deposit less than £50 per month. Most choose to withdraw when winnings hit £50. www.bingolifemagazine.com 17


On a mission with the NEW National Bingo Game: More prizes = More winners


The new National Bingo Game, which launched on Monday 30th April, is on a nationwide mission to make more winners!

has meant special new tickets and a quick fire game. Successful lucky winners know instantly if they have won and if they can also claim a Jackpot Prize.

The new game sees the return of the club prize and will create a winner in every participating club on every game: as the game is played twice a day and in over 275 clubs across the country that is a lot of winners. In addition to the club prize, jackpots of £100, £1,000 and £50,000 are available to be won on every game: win in 24 numbers or less to bag £100, win in 20 numbers or less to grab a £1,000, and if a players wins in 16 numbers or less it’s time to get the party started as they could be a £50,000 winner.

Miles Baron, Chief Executive of the National Bingo Game said, “We are excited to be launching a new version of one of club bingo’s most well known and loved games. Our mission is to create more winners across the country and the new game is designed to produce over 20,000 winners a month. With a guaranteed winner in every club, on every game, plus jackpots, I hope there will be a lot of happy customers as bingo clubs across the country celebrate with their lucky winners.

Departing from the previous 90-number game format, the new game is played using 50 numbers, which

“This will only be the third time in over thirty years that the game has had a substantial change: with this latest


issue 027


“We are excited to be launching a new version of one of club bingo’s most well known and loved games. Our mission is to create more winners across the country, and the new game is designed to produce over 20,000 winners a month.” version of the game we wanted to bring it bang up to date with a game that takes less time to play, allows clubs to play at a time they choose, finds its winners quickly, and makes more of them.” Miles continued, “Changing to a 50-number fixed-odds format has meant that there have had to be substantial changes in the game’s software, which has also enabled us to make the game’s technology web-based and in doing so improve future flexibility and reduce technological barriers for operators seeking to offer the game in their clubs and venues. It is great that we have continued to have the support of so many industry operators including Gala, Mecca, Castle, Carlton, Beacon and many more independent operators, all of whom remain key to the game.” The National Bingo Game was first launched in 1986, since when it has paid out over £1 billion in prize money, and continues to be played twice a day: afternoon and evenings, with tickets for the new game priced at £1 for 2, or £2 for 5. The new National Bingo Game is played at a wide range of bingo clubs including Gala, Mecca, Castle, Carlton, Beacon, Shipley’s, BJ’s, Cosmo, Crown, Opera and many other independent clubs across the country. To find participating clubs and for further information on the National Bingo Game visit www.nationalbingo.co.uk or find them on Facebook and Twitter. All players must be aged 18 or over. The National Bingo Game is played under the provisions of The Gambling Act 2005 and played under National Bingo Game Players’ Rules. Players should always gamble responsibly. For more information please visit www.nationalbingo.co.uk www.bingolifemagazine.com 19


Responsible Gambling Week 2018 Following the success of the first ever Responsible Gambling Week, held 12th - 18th October last year, the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) have announced the dates for this year: 1st – 7th November. The IGRG consists of lead gambling sector trade associations and comprises: • Association of British Bookmakers (ABB). • British Amusement Catering Trade Association (BACTA). • The Bingo Association (BA). • National Casino Forum (NCF). • Remote Gambling Association (RGA). The 2017 event was a great success and provides a good foundation on which to build the profile of the week and extend audience reach. 2017 was the first time that all sectors had worked together, with the results demonstrating the benefit of co-ordination and focus: • 1,000 % increase in UK visitors to BeGambleAware. org website: that’s 150,000 extra visitors, the highest volume on the site, ever.

Venues will remain a key channel through which responsible gambling messages will be distributed, with the 2018 week looking to achieve greater press and social media coverage, while also seeking to harness the information distribution channels of other supporting organisations. To increase the week’s profile a stand-alone website will be created, acting as a central information point for all aspects relating to the week, and to support organisations/venues, members of the general public, and media. This is expected to go live in early June. Supporting organisations should in the first instance contact their relevant trade body. Responsible Gambling Week 2018 1st- 7th November

• #RGWeek2017 hash tag was used over 1,400 times. • 7 million+ views of tweets containing #RGWeek2017. • Regional media coverage reached just under 1 million people. The objectives for the week remain unchanged in aiming to create a conversation about responsible gambling with customers, staff, the general public and key stakeholders. The theme ‘Let’s talk about Responsible Gambling‘ will continue, with expanded sub-messaging designed to make people think and talk. 20

1st - 7th November 2018 issue 027


Bingo♥Variety £1million pound target smashed with 6 month still to go

Left to right: Duncan Syers, Chief Barker at Variety; Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney and Joint Secretary of the APPG on Bingo; Peter Bottomley, Conservative MP for Worthing West and Member of the APPG on Bingo; Dawn Nunn, Coordinator for Play at Carpenters and Docklands Community Centre; Alastair Stewart, Head of Strategy and Development at The Bingo Association; Anna Turley, Labour MP for Redcar and Chair of the APPG on Bingo


1,104,675 raised to date which has helped to change the lives of so many children who are disadvantaged by poor heath, disability or poverty.

• 22 Sunshine Coaches have been funded; including Variety’s 5,500th coach. This was presented to Carpenters and Docklands Centre at Westminster.  Chief Executive of Carpenters and Docklands Community Centre Lorraine Cavanagh OBE, said, “This minibus will have a major impact on our children’s lives, gone are the days when we were limited to venues and opportunities, now the sky is our limit and we will grasp every opportunity that is out there, we will make sure that our children make

memories. Thank you to The Bingo Association from every child from Carpenters and Dockland Centre now and in the future for giving us wings to fly.” • 4 Wheelchairs have been provided; 1 powered chair, 1 manual chair and 2 sports chairs. 15 year old Liam who has Duchenne Muscula Dystrophy received a sport wheelchair to enable him to play wheelchair football; he is now top goal scorer at his club and plays in a national league. • 1 Sensory Room for a school that caters for children aged two to nineteen with a range of complex and profound physical and learning disabilities. The sensory room, as well as offering a space

www.bingolifemagazine.com 21

FEATURE: VARIETY UPDATE for relaxation to promote wellbeing is also used to develop pupils’ ability to focus their senses, particularly those with complex needs. • 60 specialist, medical and sensory pieces of equipment have been donated to individuals and organisations across Great Britain. One such piece of equipment is a Molli Suit used by 9 year old Alexander who has Cerebral Palsy. The Molli Suit relaxes spastic, tense and aching muscles making it easier for Alexander to move, walk longer distances and therefore be happier without constant tension and pain. Another is an inclusive accessible roundabout used by both wheelchair and non-wheechair bound children which helps pupils

to engage with peers in play and provide sensory support as well as development of core strength and motor skills. • 37 grants have been given to youth clubs for the purchase of essential equipment to keep the young people engaged. Equipment like a table tennis table for a club that organises competitions and encourages the older groups to teach the younger ones how to play the game properly. • 11 Variety Great Days Out provided memorable experiences for hundreds of children who would otherwise miss out on childhood experiences like a Christmas party or visit to a theme park.

The numbers go up and up, as Variety supporter beats its fundraising target Variety, the Children’s Charity, was thrilled when Gala Leisure, as part of The Bingo Association’s campaign ‘Bingo Loves Variety’, launched a bingo game aiming to raise £250,000 for the charity. Weeks before the special game came to a close it had raised a staggering £315,000, and the numbers just went up and up, culminating in over £400,000 being raised for Variety. Gala Leisure launched the game, called the Gala Charity Game, on 31st May last year and it ended on March 18 this year. During the 10 months a whopping 9.5 million games were played, each game costing £1 to play, with Gala Leisure donating 5p to Variety for every game purchased. Colleen Ettridge, Head of Fundraising at Variety, said, “We are extremely grateful to Gala Clubs and their staff and members for so enthusiastically getting behind the charity game and raising such a fantastic amount for Variety.”

presentation events around the UK: comedian Stan Boardman, singer Michelle McManus, impressionist Joe Longthorne, singer Darren Day, and actor Bobby Davro, who joined bingo enthusiasts in Swindon and Feltham.

The generosity and enthusiasm of Gala’s staff and customers meant that £315,000 had been raised for Variety by December last year – just six months after the game was launched.

“I’m delighted to be back at Gala Bingo Feltham celebrating staff and customers’ fantastic generosity in raising £315,000 for Variety,” said Bobby. “As a long-standing supporter of the charity, I know what a difference these funds will make to the lives of children throughout the UK.”

Weeks after Gala exceeded its £250,000 fundraising target by £65,000, Harry Potter star Warwick Davis accepted a presentation cheque for £315,000 on behalf of Variety at the Gala Bingo Club in Peterborough. Five additional celebrities attended two further cheque 22

The money raised by Gala Bingo clubs, as part of Bingo Loves Variety, will be used to fund Sunshine Coaches, specialist, sensory and medical equipment as well as grants to youth clubs in need of essential equipment. issue 027


Leslie Ross from Carlton Bingo gets on his bike for Variety As part of Carlton Bingo’s support for Bingo ♥ Variety, Finance Director Leslie Ross has decided to get on his bike. This is to be no ordinary sponsored cycle round town, but The Hebridean Way: all 185 miles of it, plus a 19 mile loop to complete the route. The Hebridean Way is a long-distance national cycling route (NCN 780 to be precise), which goes through the Outer Hebrides, from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis, linking some of the best places in Scotland to explore and admire the spectacular scenery. The remote and spectacular islands of the Outer Hebrides have always been attractive to cyclists and walkers seeking quiet roads and a different pace of life. Using ferries and causeways to hop between islands, the popular on-road route begins on the Island of Vatersay at the southern tip of the archipelago and ends 185 miles (297km) later at the Butt of Lewis lighthouse. The route takes three days, with a day either side for travel, so five days in all: Wednesday 16th May Travel early from Inverness to Oban to catch the 13.30 ferry to Castlebay on Barra, for an overnight stay. Thursday 17th May Cycle down to Vatersay and then back up to the North of Barra catching the ferry to Eriskay. From Eriskay, cycle through South Uist, Benbecula and Grimsay to North Uist, with an overnight stay. Friday 18th May Cycle from North Uist to Berneray catching the ferry to Leverburgh and then completing the loop of Harris, with a further overnight stay.

Distance by Islands: Vatersay and Barra:........................... 13 miles (21km) Sound of Barra Ferry Journey....................................... Time: 40 mins

Eriskay and South Uist:...................... 32 miles (50km) Benbecula and Grimsay:................... 13 miles (21km) North Uist and Berneray:................... 32 miles (51km) Sound of Harris Ferry Journey.........................................Time: 1 hour

Harris:............................................... 33 miles (54km) Lewis:.............................................. 62 miles (100km)

Saturday 19th May Cycle from Harris to the Butt of Lewis where Leslie is hope to persuade the driver of the bus from Ness to Stornoway to load his bike in the hold and take him the 28 miles back to Stornoway, for a final overnight before taking the ferry back to Ullapool on Sunday morning. Leslie is hoping that his obliging wife will provide a taxi service back to Inverness, as the prospect of cycling may be too much. If you would like to sponsor Leslie and support Variety you can do so at Just Giving... www.justgiving.com/fundraising/leslie-ross1 To find out more about The Hebridean Way visit www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk and click on ‘Hebridean Way’.

www.bingolifemagazine.com 23

NEW for 2018 EzyCall

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he name Edward Thompson (ET) is for many synonymous with all things bingo, having started out over 150 years ago in Sunderland. They produced their very first bingo ticket in 1958: with the first commercial bingo club opening in 1961, by 1965 Edward Thompson were producing more than 50 million tickets every week. While times and technologies have changed, ET remain very much in the bingo firmament and have evolved and expanded. Bingo Life caught up with ‘Mr Bingo’ himself, the larger than life character that is Paddy Cronin, CEO of Edward Thompson, a direct descendant of the man who started it all. Everyone in bingo knows Edward Thompson, and a great many know you personally, but when did it all start? “The company began in 1867, in a print and stationery shop on Sunderland High Street and was started by my great, great, great uncle, Edward Thompson. He is the man who set it all in motion.” So that is some 151 years ago: printing has always been an important business and a highly competitive one. The arrival and subsequent explosion in popularity of traditional bingo must have been a great opportunity for expansion and then again in the 80s when so many newspapers were using bingo type games as promotions, how have tickets changed?

“We started producing tickets in 1958 and were then built into the largest supplier of bingo tickets in Europe by my father Frank Cronin. Today’s bingo books can feature variable full colour pages and be personalised with the club’s name, a feature introduced by Edward Thompson. The improved print technologies now available and that we have invested in, allow for such a wide range of options and speed of production that were not previously possible: there is plenty of innovation, showing that life does begin at 60.” You mentioned your father, Frank, when did you take over the business? “I have worked in the company since 1988 and took over as CEO in 2010, prior to that my brother Phil had been CEO.” The company started out in printing, expanding into bingo, but what is the main focus of the business today? “The company is still the leading manufacturer of bingo tickets, so that has remained a constant: printing and bingo have both created opportunities for expanding. We supply bingo related products such as dabbers, mailers, scratchcards and posters and promotional material, many of which can be order direct though our web to print facility. We also still offer a full range of commercial print and high quality litho facilities and are the leading supplier of promotional games in Europe, with full service mailing house. This enables us to produce promotional campaigns for many leading

www.bingolifemagazine.com 25

FEATURE: EDWARD THOMPSON brands including CocaCola and Nintendo, as well as bingo operators such as Gala and Carlton. Our main focus is to stay as the number one full service supplier to bingo clubs, and as such we also offer a full range of electronic bingo.” As number one, who are your customers in land based club bingo? “We supply most of the major players in the bingo industry including Gala, Castle, Carlton, Majestic, Club 3000 and many others including independent clubs and casino chains such as Aspers. Outside of traditional bingo we still also supply tickets and promotional games to national and international newspapers such as the Daily Mail and The Sun.”

we are not just part of the bingo business, or gambling industry: we are part of the leisure sector and as such compete against a wide range of leisure activities, competing for consumers’ time as well as their spend.” As people’s leisure time has increased and the leisure market expanded, how do you see the future for bingo? “Bingo is an ancient game, played for over 1,000 years, if commercial bingo evolves it has a great future ahead. People always love a chance to play and a chance to win: our challenge and job is to work with the industry to package it correctly.” So after 30 years in the business, both bingo and Edward Thompson, what makes you proud? “We are over 150 years old, still leading the way and innovating and 100% British owned and run.” Paddy’s enthusiasm and passion for the business and for bingo is refreshing and we suspect infectious: remaining a major player in the bingo industry takes a lot of energy and commitment. Having an equally enthusiastic team is also key. Whilst talking to Paddy we also go the chance to chat to Head of Sales at Edward Thompson, Alan Morrison:

Having worked in the business, for what is now 30 years, have you seen it change? “Immeasurably, we used to print bingo balls and supply blowers: there may be some readers who won’t know what they are. Equally the volume of tickets we print has reduced, as today a third of players play electronically. Technology has changed what is needed to play games but has also enabled new games and ways of playing to be created.” Having seen such substantial changes in the business what key challenges do you see ahead? “The industry needs to focus on external competitors to thrive. It needs to understand the changing leisure market and adapt its products and services accordingly, 26

Having heard Paddy talk a little about the changes to bingo tickets, could you tell us more? “Well apart from us introducing the first colour commercial bingo book in early 2010 we offer a full range of books from top-glued flip books to side-glued books, linked and non-linked. This year we are offering a whole new way of ordering with 3 day turnaround times, which should greatly assist our customers. We have also introduced 9 from 36 tickets, for a faster fun game: we currently offer 7 fun ‘off the shelf’ themes with every game jackpot compatible and able to be played 4 to view. These are now available on our electronic handheld terminals as well and have a fully developed TDM. And of course we also offer a bespoke design service. “We also have Printeazi, which is a bespoke product that gives customers the freedom to manage, personalise and order print directly, saving time and money. It can used for anything, from leaflets and posters to full colour variable direct mail and can be integrated into leading industry membership management system Maxim.net. With templates designed bespoke to your requirements, Printeazi can be accessed any time of the day from any internet enabled device, including mobile and tablet. With turnaround times of under 24 hours, it puts our customers in total control.” issue 027


Left to right: Edward Thompson’s Quinton Stephens, Paddy Cronin, Kirsty Walker and Spencer Hawksworth

“Our new product guide provides a comprehensive overview of our full range of supplementary print and mailing offerings to the leisure industry and is available from a member of the team, who will be happy to send out a hard or an electronic version, by request.” You mentioned electronic handhelds, which are increasingly popular, what development has there been on electronics? “We have two new bingo calling options: Ezycall is a tablet based system with HD output and flexibility for the caller to be mobile in the hall, offering 9 from 36, 75, 80 and 90 number bingo, and Powercall, an exciting supplementary option to existing calling equipment. Offering a huge variety of fun jackpot and themed games, an unrivalled selection of HD animated promo games with TV gameshow quality graphics, and high quality sound these are all about entertainment. These games work exceptionally well with our industry leading handheld terminals, which now offer improved charge racks and new point of sale. These units are constantly being development and improvements added.” Customers love something new, what does Edward Thompson have available to excite players? “Our ‘Big Fun Button’ allows clubs to bring a bit of gameshow razzmatazz into bingo: it’s a wireless button that allows players to participate in a range of prize mechanics including Wheel of Fortune, Roll the Dice, Card Draws and much more. This can be provided with branded animations and can be used to drive membership, incentivise winners and add sound, colour and excitement, offering something extra.”

While many people know Paddy, he can’t be everywhere at the same time, who are the other faces at Edward Thompson that people might expect to meet? “We recently restructured our bingo team to give a better customer support and interaction, backed up by client services and design departments, with the aim of providing clubs and operators with regular visits from recognisable knowledgeable and helpful contacts. “The resulting ET Team is: Kirsty Walker, Regional Sales Manager for Scotland, Northern England, North Wales, Northern Ireland and Eire. Coming from a design background, Kirsty can advise on the best way to create and implement messages for maximum impact and exposure. Spencer Hawksworth, Regional Sales Manager, for the Midlands, Southern England and South Wales, who brings a wealth of sales experience and will help identify ways to engage with customers to obtain maximum attendance and participation. Quinton Stephens, our Electronics Support Manager and is responsible for all things electronic: an IT expert with a great knowledge of games and systems, he will help clubs install and maintain their electronic games. “Kirsty, Spencer and Quinton are all backed up and supported by the Client Service Team: Nadine, Jodanna, Hillary and Kassie, who are all on hand to help.” W: www.edwardthompson.com T: 0191 514 4199 E:clientservices@edwardthompson.com

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The Success of Snail Mail in a digital world factors such as familiarity with technology, access to the internet, age and mailing costs. Declines in letter (paper-based comms) volumes is set to continue, though the rate of decline will slow: importantly for operators in the delivery sector this is something that will be partially offset by the growth of parcels traffic, as online shopping transaction volumes increase.


t’s 2018 and despite the unrelenting progress and presence of the digital and online worlds in people’s lives, traditional direct marketing remains a powerful communication and sales tool that can often be overlooked. UK total inland letter volumes declined by 3.1% p.a. from 2005 to 2008, and by 6.3% p.a. from 2008 to 2013, driven by the economic downturn and increased use of electronic mail: meanwhile UK parcel volumes grew by 4.3% p.a. from 2005 to 2008, and by 3.7% p.a. from 2008-2013, driven by online shopping. While these figures and drivers may seem obvious, the consumer path to shopping online and engaging is in many cases not just driven by electronic e-mail or online search, but receipt of physical communication – letter, brochure or catalogue – direct to their door: snail mail. Some businesses, such as Amazon, started in the digital age, while others have evolved, with most already having accommodated, to some degree, digital/electronic communication into their business. The level to which electronic communication has been substituted for paper varies greatly between and within sectors, depending on both the senders’ and recipients’ attitude toward it: affected by a range of 28

Despite the attention currently paid to digital marketing, offline methods such as direct mail can still play an important part in customer communication and engagement. While digital offers many cost benefits, the ease with which it can be used has created an increasingly crowded online space, where consumers are bombarded by such huge volumes of messages and alerts that they are either using technology to block them, for example spam filters and pop-up blockers, or just tuning-out. Some are inclined to pit traditional mail against electronic communication, placing the emphasis on the channel rather than the customer, which can be counter productive, minimise returns on marketing spend and alienate customers. The land-based bingo sector is an interesting mix of traditional and new, with products and venues that increasingly make the most of technology, but with a client base that contains customers who are as much fans of the traditional as they are the new, and covering all ages. Direct marketing is about talking directly to customers, as individuals, stepping right into their lives as soon as they open their mail – whether that be paper-based or electronic. We spoke to Shipley Creative, who cover both electronic and paper for a range of clients, to hear first-hand if we truly are living in a digital world. “Traditional direct mail is anything but dead,” says Anthony Halliwell, General Manager at Shipley Creative, “A great example of the power of direct mail marketing is the recent campaign commissioned by Clifton Bingo issue 027


Source: From ‘The outlook for UK mail volumes to 2013’ produced by PwC for Royal Mail Group

“Breakopens are ideal for ‘everyone’s a winner campaigns’ says Halliwell, “Either through direct mail or as in-house promotions given out in club.” in York: the week ending 4th March this year saw one of the coldest weeks on record for March, but whilst most of the bingo industry saw a 20% downfall in their admissions, Clifton Bingo had an amazing 15% increase, all due to timely direct mail.” Shipley Creative spoke to Clifton Bingo in January about a new marketing campaign and after looking at the many options available the team and client decided against a traditional ‘envelope’ mailer promotion: still sticking with traditional mail, they chose an innovative ‘breakopen’ direct mailer. The unique and engaging mailing piece certainly helped Clifton Bingo achieve a successful mailing campaign, especially given the horrendous weather and business decline experienced elsewhere in the industry.

“Breakopens are ideal for, ‘Everyone’s a winner campaigns’,” says Halliwell, “Either through direct mail or as in-house promotions given out in club. These, along with other formats of direct mail designed, printed and fulfilled by us at Shipley Creative, added up to over 5 million pieces of traditional mail sent out over the last year. “With less competition on the doormat, traditional mail is increasingly less likely to be seen as ‘junk mail’ than many e-mails: with a strong targeted message it can bring in a good response rate.” Shipley Creative, who have worked with the club bingo sector for many years, know the business and provide access to advice from experienced industry experts who can help clients plan, create and implement a campaign from start to finish, and ensure that it integrates with other communication and promotional activity. Using their in-house design, print, finishing and fulfilment services, costs are highly competitive - you don’t even have to lick your stamps to get the best rates! Shipley Creative: www.shipleycreative.com or Ellesmere Street, Leigh. WN7 4LQ

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Keeping Carlton at the heart of Stirling


ast year, Carlton bingo started a £500,000 refurbishment programme at its Stirling club to ensure that the established and much loved bingo venue reflected the needs and expectations of a modern bingo audience. The club reopened earlier this year, all fresh and shiny. Historic Stirling is located in the heart of Scotland and the club’s customers represent the heart of the club, so blending the needs of existing players with the demands of new ones was a challenge. Club Manager, Craig Oliver, firmly believes the new club is setting the right tone, “A key part of the refurbishment plan was to create a new purpose built chat room in an under-used area of the club. This ‘shush free’ lounge is more like a themed pub within the club and caters for a newer, younger audience, although it is also proving a hit with our regular players too. The lounge also lends itself well to hosting groups at the club and also for private bookings after bingo for themed party nights, quizzes and karaoke. Craig added, “In addition to providing additional after-bingo entertainment in this new dedicated area we have opened up the

entertainment to the club by hosting numerous cabaret events including AbbaMania, Grease and Dirty Dancing live stage shows, which have attracted large audiences of new and traditional players. This was not limited to evenings only as we have had a few shows after the bingo in the afternoons too.”

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The refurbished club makes use of the new NRM Jigsaw system, which has easily allowed it to expand its entertainment offering, hosting Karaoke, quiz nights and charity events. The system also brings a sense of theatre to the actual games of bingo, with jingles for false calls, big wins and simply as fun fillers while staff are checking claims, all of which have been well received by customers. Investment in the club has not been restricted to technology: the food and drink side of the club has also greatly benefited with a new kitchen, more order points and a second bar added. A ‘cook to order’ menu was also launched, which club staff were involved in creating, from concept to sampling, through to final launch. “At Carlton we believe it is important to include everyone and it was staff involvement that really helped at the relaunch. Working with the staff meant we were able to create dishes which customers love and the staff can put together with ease, even when busy. They really are a great team!” said Craig. “The successful trial of ‘cook to order’ here has resulted in the concept being rolled out to a further 6 Carlton sites with the intention being to cover all clubs by the end of 2018. “The creation of the ‘chat’ room lounge also brought a second bar to the club and saw the range of drinks available double, competing with any bar in town for choice, which has been another key area of success for the business. “Carlton Stirling is a traditional bingo club at heart, with all the modernity a younger audience expects and we are always looking to improve, innovate and think of the next new thing to do. Customers can play bingo how they wish and with their own mind-set: electronic, or not, in the chat room, or not, and stay for a show, or not. Simply put – it’s all about customer choice.” 32

issue 027

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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 T 01582 860921

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Profile for Casino Life Magazine

Bingo life issue 27  


Bingo life issue 27