BINGOLife Autumn 2018 - Issue 28
BINGO â™¥ VARIETY
Another great year
Unleashing the potential
HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY
Apollo Bingo Durham
BINGOLife Published by ACE Publishing Ltd
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Welcome to the Autumn 2018 Issue of BINGO Life. The summer seems a distant memory and the Holiday season looms: 2019 is firmly in our sights. Industry investment is progressing: welcome Buzz Bingo, operators are testing cutting edge club equipment to ensure the best experience; and the new National Bingo Game is a firm favourite. BINGO Life remains focussed on all things Bingo - we hope you enjoy our final issue of 2018.
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Welcome to Bingo Life Autumn 2018
Editor’s Foreword Miles Baron
5 Guest Comment Kate Chambers Managing Director Clarion Gaming 6 News 16 The Bingo Association Charity Celebration and Parliamentary Reception 2018
20 The Biggest BUZZ in bingo: 103 clubs and a £40 million investment 25 Bingo At EAG International and VAE 2019
7 14 2
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
Chief Executive’s foreword
here is no doubt that 2018 will be remembered in wider gambling circles for the DCMS’ decision to reduce stakes on FOBTs to £2. In itself, this decision should not materially affect bingo. After all, as we have often reminded various parties, bingo operators don’t have them nor would they wish to have them. But the ripple effect of this decision will continue to affect behaviours and thinking that will inevitably involve the licensed bingo industry. The output of the consultation also demanded greater harm protections for customers for all category B3 machines. In anticipation of this, in September this year, The Bingo Association piloted improved and more effective socially responsible messaging on digital B3 gaming machines across 575 cabinets and 22 premises in the West Midlands. Whilst the evaluation of this pilot isn’t due until October 24th, courtesy of Chrysalis Research, provisional findings are encouraging; the messages are resonating with players. And why wouldn’t they? After all, the messages were carefully researched and developed by behavioural change agencies funded by Gambleaware. They weren’t just made up. So a big thanks to all the participating companies , premises and manufacturers who supported the pilot. I don’t wish to pre-judge the findings but I think it’s highly likely that this pilot will be extended to another area shortly and, with the involvement of bacta, providing consistent and effective messaging across all premises containing B3 gaming machines. The vision of course, is a nationwide messaging strategy for Category B3 machines consistent with the wishes of DCMS and the regulator. Will this be enough? Probably not. Time and limit setting on gaming machines will also need to be explored. Mandatory tracked play has not gone away. However this has to be a longer term aspiration. Consumer reaction to a tracked play solution coupled with the cost of implementing the necessary technology would cripple the bingo industry almost overnight. Away from the consultation outcome, I am delighted at the success of the new National Bingo Game which has once again united the industry (well done, Alastair Stewart); pleased to see the launch of the ‘Buzz Bingo’ brand’; the continued success of Bongos Bingo , Big www.bingolifemagazine.com
Corbyn calls bingo
Bingo Bash and all the other iterations of this form of the game. Who would have thought to have seen Jeremy Corbyn call a game of Bingo at Party Conference? Well he did and I was there! Operators are looking to leverage the size and scale of their operations outside their key operating time with activities such as e-sports and…. Meanwhile with the support, where necessary, of EY and Cherry Hosking at the BA, most operators seem to have adapted to and absorbed fully the requirements of GDPR. I am also happy to see how, after only two years, Responsible Gambling Week has taken hold and grown. This year we welcome gambling representatives from Ireland and a greater level of commitment and exposure from existing GB operators. Steve Baldwin and Deborah Roil have proven to be a great team and deserve a lot of credit for delivering this key calendar event. In June of this year, after reaching a support agreement in December 2017, Meeron Limited (a subsidiary of The National Bingo Game) purchased ISD Computer Services Limited which developed and supports the Maxim membership system. Chris Wrigley, their MD, is doing a great job managing the transition and balancing the demands of the here and now with longer term plans for the company. The team at ISD are a fantastic group and are a most welcome addition to our Dunstablebased group of companies. At time of writing I look forward to a number of future key events. The biennial House of Commons bingo industry charity event will take place on November 20th; the Bingo Pavilion at ICE in February 2019; and the Bingo Association Golf Day in aid of Variety is already confirmed at the Celtic Manor for June 6th 2019. I hope the next few pages helps to give you a feel for the current issues and plans for the licensed bingo industry for the remainder of this year and for 2019. 3
5-7 February 2019 ExCeL London, UK
Applied Mathematics Applied mathematics expanded considerably when Pierre de Fermat and Blaise Pascal set the groundwork for probability theory and the corresponding rules of combinatorics over a game of gambling. #spiritofgenius
To experience gamingâ€™s Spirit of Genius visit icelondon.uk.com
GUEST COMMENT: KATE CHAMBERS
That’s what you call Genius! #SpiritofGenius is the theme that we’ve adopted for the marketing campaign in support of ICE London 2019, the world’s biggest and most international B2B gaming exhibition. Why Spirit of Genius? Well, we thought it was about time that someone started banging the drum on behalf of an industry that’s one of the first to embrace new technology and that features the brightest and most creative people, certainly that I’ve come across during my working life. Gaming’s ‘Spirit of Genius’ is probably most evident at ICE London. Everywhere you look at ExCeL London in February, you will see classic examples of great thinking and there’s absolutely no doubt that among the closeto-600 organisations that choose to exhibit with us, there will be products and services that, in the fullness of time, will be judged to belong in the category labelled ‘absolute genius’. Examples of really great thinking are found throughout gaming, not least among the retailers of, and suppliers to, bricks and mortar bingo. By working in partnership with The Bingo Association and Bingo Life, we have been able to address some of the at-show needs of the people who work in the sector and to provide a focal point for the industry and a place to meet. The Bingo Pavilion has been created to deliver this important resource for both exhibitors and visitors and I am delighted that we have been able to enhance the presence of what is one of gaming’s best loved experiences at what many people believe to be the industry’s most loved exhibition. Bricks and mortar bingo is recognised for its commitment to social responsibility and for the very positive role it plays in addressing issues such as social exclusion/isolation and the promotion of well-being. This progressive mind-set also extends to the central issue of responsible gambling and I know The Bingo Association has asked all of its members to support and promote the official Responsible Gambling Week www.bingolifemagazine.com
Kate Chambers Managing Director, Clarion Gaming
which runs from 1st – 7th November. The week is a cross-industry initiative to promote responsible gambling and involves all sectors of the gambling industry, comprising 127,000 staff at more than 11,000 gambling venues and online sites throughout the UK and Ireland. Like The Bingo Association, we are also extremely proud to support Responsible Gambling Week and are funding a targeted influencer engagement campaign on Instagram in the lead up to, and during, the week. Once again, I look forward to seeing you at ICE London in February. Kate ICE London 5-7 February 2019, ExCeL London, UK. For more information and to register: icelondon.uk.com 5
NEWS: ROUND UP
Cutting edge display: seeing clearly at Majestic Bingo Majestic Bingo is the third largest retail bingo operator in the UK, with a portfolio of 16 wellestablished and lively clubs. Placing customer experience at the heart of its offering, Majestic uses the latest technology in entertainment, tailored to its individual clubs. These range from purposebuilt destination venues in retail parks to converted cinemas and theatres. Earlier this year Majestic invested in two of their largest flat floor spaces, Barrow-in-Furness and Mansfield, to bring live bingo data to media-rich graphic displays, as well as digitising advertising content and booksales pricing across single and multiple sites, from desktop through to display. The bingo industry has faced a number of challenges in recent years, despite which, Majestic Bingo has shown consistent revenue growth: a key factor in being recognised this year by the London Stock Exchange Group as one of 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain. Mark Jepp, Managing Director of Majestic Bingo, maintains his belief in the industry and its future, citing the right partners as being a crucial cog in the wheel. Committed to investing in technology, Majestic recognised the need to differentiate, delighting customers with high quality displays that also offer opportunities to showcase everything on offer in each venue.
Majestic approached AV integrator Willow Communications to implement their Bingo Information Graphical Display (BigD) system. This industry specific system allows Majestic to transfer live bingo data on to media-rich graphic displays. Willow Communications was also tasked to manage Majestic’s digital advertising content and booksales pricing – delivering the ability to sync across multiple media devices, throughout their halls. Displays to match this dynamic solution were also required and Willow worked with Philips Professional Display Solutions to provide a range of impressive Pro TV screens of 65” and 48”, and Studio Line signage displays on 47” V-Line and 75” U-Line screen, offering 4k graphics and delivering clear, consistent brand messaging throughout each venue. Mark Jepp said, “Displaying bingo in the best way possible with dynamic graphics will enable our clubs to stay fresh and relevant. Willow’s BigD software on Philips Professional Displays is the perfect solution.” Philips displays throughout each venue amplify brand messaging and enable successful cross and up-selling of venue offering, working together with Willow’s BigD system, offering simple integration and control. For the customer this offers an enhanced experience: an integrated solution that delivers the ability to introduce new games, experiences and entertainment products seamlessly.
NEWS: ROUND UP
Regent Spalding celebrates makeover To mark the re-launch of Regent Bingo Spalding following its full makeover, the club invited all its local members, old and new, to celebrate at its grand reopening on 12th October. The landmark building first opened on 10th June 1937 as the Savoy cinema, with Irene Dunne in the film Theodora Goes Wild: at the time of opening it was the largest purpose built-cinema in Lincolnshire. Due to declining audience numbers the cinema closed in 1970, re-opening as a bingo club, now known as the Regent Bingo Club, which has been successfully operating for over 40 years. Works to restore the iconic building have seen an investment of £200,000 made in the building and its facilities. Work includes a refurbished main hall with new carpet and reupholstered seating, a new disabled toilet, along with restoration works to the external canopy of the building by Structured Images Ltd. Managing Director, Mark Jepp, said , “The investment www.bingolifemagazine.com
reflects our commitment to protect and invest in clubs that have been serving the community for years, so they can be enjoyed for many more years to come.” A ribbon cutting ceremony and speech by local MP John Hayes marked the official re-launch, with soap star Andrew Whyment, who plays Kirk in Coronation Street, there to meet and greet guests, as well as calling the first game of bingo. The celebrations also included performances from local artists, singer Meg McPartlin and band Zebra. General Manager Claire Dixon said, “The refurbishment has given the building a new lease of life. We have specifically focused on works that will improve customers’ overall comfort and experience inside the main hall including better disabled facilities to ensure we meet the needs of all our customers.” Claire added, “We’re incredibly grateful to our members for their continued support whilst the works have been going on.” 7
NEWS: ROUND UP
Double-delight for charity champion Apollo Bingo Durham had a double surprise planned for longstanding team member Pat Swainston – who has worked at the club for 40 years.
customers who have visited the club over the past 40 years to attend a special celebration on Sunday 12th August.
The team wanted not only to recognize her longstanding career but also her commitment to fundraising over that time: Pat has singlehandedly raised around £200,000 for various charities, including Variety the Children’s Charity which has been the company and the bingo industry’s nominated national charity for the past four years.
The company’s Managing Director, Mark Jepp, made a surprise appearance to hand over a special MD’s award in recognition of Pat’s long service, fundraising achievements and as a valued team member of the club.
To coincide with Pat’s 70th birthday the club invited 8
General Manager, Kath McGurk said, “We were delighted with the turnout on the night. Pat is a true inspiration and much loved by staff and customers. For her to receive issue 028
NEWS: ROUND UP the MD’s award on the same night was the icing on the cake – very well deserved.” “Normally she is like Inspector Morse and knows everything that is going on in the club, but she had no clue,” explained Kath. “It came as a complete surprise, both the award and the party. Pat was invited on to the stage before the evening session started and gave a
speech to guests.” “All night she kept saying, ‘I don’t believe it, ‘I can’t stop shaking’, and then when she realised her family were in on it too (her daughter and grand-daughter came into the club) she was completely shocked saying they had all been at her house for dinner that afternoon and no-one had said anything!”
Happy birthday: Memorabilia showcase marks 80th anniversary Located on Sherburn Road, a short walk from Dragonville Retail Park, Apollo Bingo Durham is showcasing memorabilia that goes back as far as the venue’s cinema days, when it first opened in 1938. Photos, artefacts and memorabilia from the building have been displayed as part of a temporary exhibition. Kath McGurk, General Manager at Apollo Bingo Durham said, “The building’s 80th anniversary was marked with eight days of promotions all linked to the numbers 8 or 80. The wonderful showcase of interesting artefacts, uncovered from rooms upstairs in the building haven’t seen the light of day for years, are being displayed in public for the first time.” She added, “I’m very grateful to Marc Cook, one of our mainstage callers, who has worked in the club for 17 years and has spent his own time researching the history of the club: it became a passion-project which he has thoroughly enjoyed doing.” Opened in August 1938 as The Majestic, it was opened to provide entertainment for the then new housing estate across the road: the first film shown was Maytime starring Jeanette MacDonald. During World War II it was an important part of the local community as people used it as a gathering place for news and advice about the war, where films gave way to Public Information Films on the British Home Front. Damaged by fire in 1956, it remained open and did not close its doors as a cinema until November 1961 with Elvis Presley’s film Flaming Star being the last film shown. The building was bought by the Mason Organisation and reopened as a bingo club, with a roulette wheel at the front, recalls one member. In 1977, as an experiment, www.bingolifemagazine.com
Mr Mason decided to move the staff and club into Durham City to try and expand the clientele, following which it became a boxing gym and a skateboard arena. In 1982 Mr Mason decided to bring bingo back to The Majestic and it re-opened following a glitzy refurbishment. In 2003 the building was bought by Top Ten, which saw the club refurbished and reopened in 2006 by the Mayor of Durham, as Top Ten Durham: the first time in the venue’s history that it was not called The Majestic. Top Ten then renamed the club The Apollo before selling it in the late 2000’s. While still called The Apollo, it has come nearly full circle and is owned and run by Majestic Bingo. One of the club’s new team members, Carl Barker, recalls his grandfather Tom Collier being a projectionist when the building was a cinema. Carl now stands calling bingo numbers in the place where his grandfather used to project movies. 9
1st - 7th November 2018
Letâ€™s talk about Responsible Gambling Responsible Gambling Week is a national, cross-industry awareness campaign promoting responsible gambling, led by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling.
ResponsibleGamblingWeek.org @RGWeek18 #RGWeek18
Not so ‘Wey Aye Man’
Latest Mecca bingo survey finds Geordies the most likely to say ‘life’s not fair’
Seven in ten Brits believe life isn’t fair, with a third of us admitting to experiencing at least three moments a week which bring out our cynical side. A study of 1,000 people by Meccabingo.com found that more than a fifth (21%) of the nation constantly feel life isn’t fair, with many blaming the fact they do not experience enough happy or winning moments a day. They’re known for being the friendliest people in the UK, but the poll found Geordies to be the most cynical, with 87% stating they don’t feel life has dealt them a fair hand. The North East region, as a whole, was the most likely to think ‘life’s not fair’ (82%). Bristol and Birmingham were equally pessimistic, with 77% believing life hasn’t been fair on them. Wales and Scotland have a slightly more optimistic outlook on life, only 64% believe life isn’t fair, with the least cynical cities listed at Edinburgh (58%), Brighton (64%) and Southampton (65%). When asked to list the moments most likely to feel like you’re winning at life, it seems it’s the little things that count most, with the top 10 as follows: www.bingolifemagazine.com
1. Finding money – 45% 2. Receiving a compliment – 42% 3. The sun shining – 41% 4. Getting a good night’s sleep – 38% 5. Unexpected discount when shopping – 35% 6. Being given a surprise e.g. flowers – 30% 7. Finishing work early – 24% 8. Favourite song coming on the radio – 24% 9. Sporting team winning – 22% 10. Not having to queue in a shop – 15%. Those living in the West Midlands rely on finding money for that winning feeling (56%), whereas Londoners are led by the weather, with 37% stating the sun shining was most likely to ensure they have a good day. Those in the South West need a good night’s sleep (58%), and the Welsh rely on receiving a compliment (49%). When asked about moments more within our control, a total of 43% of Brits in the survey said that treating yourself to either your favourite meal or having a lie in are the little things that make us feel good. Enjoying some me time is also important, with 23% of Brits citing their happiest moments are when spending time alone, and a further 16% preferring to spend time with their pets over their parents. 11
Mecca Cwmbran colleagues reach new heights for charity Two brave team members at Mecca Bingo in Cwmbran have taken the leap of faith in a freefall from the 178ft Newport Transporter Bridge to raise money for the Carers Trust and St David’s Hospice Care. Mecca colleagues Kim Jones and Paul Hughes accepted the challenge and have raised over £2,000 in total for the two charities by taking the courageous leap from the historic transporter bridge which opened in 1906, and is only one of three in the UK and seven worldwide. In the run up to the freefall, which took place in October, the colleagues had already challenged themselves by taking part in an array of exciting mini-fundraising activities including a custard gunging, which helped them reach the £2,000 mark. General Manager at Mecca Cwmbran, Kim Jones said, “I couldn’t resist the challenge of freefalling from the Newport Transporter Bridge to raise funds for the Carers Trust and St David’s Hospice Care.” “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and although the 178ft drop was nerve-wracking, it was all worth it to help raise funds for two worthy causes.”
Commenting on his charity adventure, Paul Hughes said, “A freefall is definitely not for the faint-hearted! It was certainly an exhilarating experience and a fun day out, we’re delighted to have smashed our target thanks to the support from our Mecca members.” The partnership between the Carers Trust and Mecca Bingo first began in February 2014. Since then, its team members have continued to work hard to raise as much money as possible by undertaking various charity initiatives and fundraising activities in the local area. Giles Meyer, Chief Executive of the Carers Trust, added “We are delighted to hear about the team from Mecca Cwmbran’s daring fundraising efforts in the name of the Carers Trust and St David’s Hospice Care.” “The money raised by the team, combined with the amazing amounts of money raised throughout the year, will help the Carers Trust to support thousands of unpaid carers through a grants fund to give carers the equipment and skills they need to carry out their caring roles, whilst also ensuring that their own health and well-being are looked after.”
NEWS: JACKPOT CARLTON NATIONAL BINGO
Carlton Bingo celebrates lucky win as Dumbarton bingo player calls ‘House’ on £50,000 jackpot Carlton Bingo Dumbarton knows how to throw a party: everyone in the club joined in the celebrations as one lucky player stepped up on stage in September to collect her super-sized £50,000 cheque, having won the jackpot on the National Bingo Game. The retired, married mother-of-three, grandmotherof-nine and great-grandmother-of-one was playing bingo on Wednesday 29th August at Carlton Bingo Dumbarton with her sister, who had introduced her to the game 47 years ago. The evening was going well, as she caught up with her sister and was enjoying playing when the National Bingo Game started: calling ‘House’ on the Club Prize she was excited to win. Only when it flashed up on the club display board that a player in the club had won a £50,000 jackpot, and the manager came over to confirm her win, did she realise the size of the prize and that the jackpot winner was her! Commenting on her win she said, “It hasn’t really sunk in yet – I can’t believe how much I have won: my sister won £1,000 on very first night of the new National Bingo Game in April, so you never know. I am going to share my good fortune with my friends and family. A holiday is definitely on the cards.” Prior to this massive win the largest prize that the lucky Dumbarton player had won was £4,000. Gary Duncanson, General Manager at Carlton Bingo Dumbarton said “We love to throw a party and involve all our customers in the celebration. It is great to see a regular customer win such a large prize, and while playing with her bingo buddy and sister. The new
L-R: Mary Brown, Helen Davidson, Fiona Campbell, (Winner), Gary Duncanson (General Manager), Pamela McCallum (Team Manager,) winners Sister, Michael McKernan, Elizabeth Brogan and Kirsty Toal.
National Bingo Game has proved very lucky for them and is popular with customers: to win such a big jackpot and not realise must be a nice shock to have! We are all over the moon for the winner – I know she has already made some exciting plans and I am sure she is really going to enjoy her big win!” Alastair Stewart, Business Development Manager at the National Bingo Game said, “We are thrilled for our lucky National Bingo Game £50,000 jackpot Dumbarton Bingo winner and hope that she enjoys her winnings. This was our 27th £50,000 Jackpot winner since May this year and it was great to see this item covered by the local press. To date we have had forty-two £50,000 Jackpot winners, with 806 lucky winners taking home the £1,000 and 7,659 winners taking away £100.”
NEWS: RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING WEEK
Operators pledge strong support for Responsible Gambling Week with eye-catching new initiatives
esponsible Gambling Week 2018 will be bigger and bolder than last year’s inaugural campaign, with operators announcing strong support for the event in the first week of November: many Bingo Association members have already ordered materials and requested artwork in preparation for the Week. More than 127,000 staff at more than 11,000 gambling venues and online sites in the UK and Ireland will take part in Responsible Gambling Week, sparking a national conversation with customers and their friends and families about what it means to gamble responsibly. The majority of gambling operators have committed to the campaign, taking place from 1-7 November which is organised by the Industry Group For Responsible Gambling (IGRG) of which the Association is a member, and have agreed to promote consistent messages and branding in venues, online and on their social media channels. Several operators, suppliers and publishers have announced significant initiatives to ensure the campaign reaches the widest possible audience: • JPJ Group is donating advertising space at key London Underground stations throughout Responsible Gambling Week. • Clarion Gaming is funding a targeted influencer engagement campaign to run on Instagram before and during the week. 14
• Aspers, Mecca, William Hill and Cashino provided staff and venues for campaign imagery. • Virgin Games mocked up its site for a Responsible Gambling Week ‘takeover’. • Genting staff are organising a wide range of charity fundraising events at their venues throughout Responsible Gambling Week. • Leading trade publications and online platforms are donating advertising space. Other operators will announce their own initiatives in the coming week and the event is supported by gambling charities GambleAware, GamCare, and YGam (Young Gamblers Education Trust), and by the Gambling Commission. John Hagan, Chairman of IGRG said, “It is heartening to see the support of leading operators for Responsible Gambling Week. Our aim is to make the event bigger and better than last year and we are using the collective networks, venues and staff of all gambling sectors, and our digital channels, to reach a wider audience and raise awareness.” Responsible Gambling Week now has its own website: responsiblegamblingweek.org which includes details of all companies and organisations who are supporting the campaign. Operators and supporters can download responsible gambling literature and other campaign materials from the site. Practical advice for customers is also signposted on the site and being shared on social media channels @RGweek18 #RGWeek18. To find out more visit: responsiblegamblingweek.org issue 028
NEWS: CHARITY BIKE RIDE
Children’s charity bike ride goes to the moon and back Sixteen Majestic bingo clubs embarked on another round of fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity, this summer that culminated on Friday 7th September with teams each cycling 30 miles in club with a goal of raising £4,800 – the amount of miles to get to the moon and back (multiplied by 0.01). Majestic are the industry’s biggest innovator and supporter of Variety, having delivered the largest average amount per club between 2015-18, and receiving industry recognition and praise from Variety ambassadors. Mark Jepp, Managing Director for Majestic Bingo Limited said, “You would go to the moon and back for your children – the idea came from a team member at our Spalding club. We took this concept and did some creative maths to bring the event to life.” The Bingo Association selected Variety as their
The serious business of sport
nominated charity in 2015. Having raised £750,000 over three years they are on track to exceed their fouryear pledge of £1,000,000 by the end of 2018. Since 2015 Majestic Bingo has fully supported the BA’s nominated charity: from dizzying abseils to skydives; from wing walks to log flumes; and from marathons to bike rides and walks, to name a few! As well as the September ‘Moon and Back’ charity bike ride, a five-strong team of daredevils recently completed the fastest zip line in the world, from the top of the Penrhyn Quarry in Wales, where wire riders reach speeds of up to 100mph. Mark Jepp added, “We are now into our fourth year of Variety fundraising and the enthusiasm and dedication shown by everyone who gets behind our charity endeavours still amazes me.”
November 27-28, 2018 Convene, 117 W 46th Street New York NY, USA
Business Strategies Tactics
Sports Betting USA. The definitive event from the title winning team at Clarion Gaming.
To reserve space and register to attend visit: sportsbettingusaconference.com
FEATURE: VARIETY UPDATE Alastair Stewart, Business Development Manager at The National Bingo Game
The Bingo Association charity celebration and parliamentary reception 2018 Houses of Parliament, London
The Bingo Association is delighted to be hosting a reception this November to celebrate all the amazing support that its members and their customers and staff have given to Variety over the last 4 years. The Association is extremely proud of members for raising money through their bingo clubs and how the money collected has gone back to local communities, mainly, 16
but not exclusively, by the provision of 23 speciallyadapted mini buses for children in special needs schools. Every two years, The Bingo Association hosts an event at the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the fundraising and charitable achievements of the bingo industry with customers, charity recipients, issue 028
FEATURE: VARIETY UPDATE
THANK YOU for raising over
Variety Great Days Out
politicians, and industry charity champions. To date, bingo customers are likely to have raised more than £1 million for Variety, the children’s charity. The Association also appreciates that bingo customers around the country have also helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for other great charities including Rank Cares, CHIPS and the Alzheimer’s Society and intends to recognise this wider effort at the Charity Celebration on November 20th.
Ten’s the winning number as The Bingo Association gifts special needs schools with new minibuses
The Association will be joined by a celebrity guest ambassador for Variety, who will be accepting the cheque on behalf of the charity as well as mingling with customers and staff – Bingo LIFE will be covering the event in our January 2019 edition, with pictures from the event.
Ten schools in England, Scotland and Wales have each received a minibus to transport pupils with disabilities out into the community, where fun activities and everyday tasks – including food shopping – boost their learning and development. These coaches form just part of the total number of iconic Variety Sunshine Coaches funded by the Association and were simultaneously wheeled out of a depot in Kent, all reaching their destinations by the end of June.
This year The Association will also be joined by Frances Lang, the new CEO of Variety, the Children’s Charity, who will be helping to mark the occasion.
Schools wasted no time in making the most of the shiny new minibuses. Staff and pupils at one school piled into their one shortly after it arrived!
This year alone , The Association has given out 13 specially adapted minibuses, most recently in Great Barr in Birmingham. The total raised so far for 2018, including the most recent Link Games of bingo, is an amazing £242,029.99.
“We couldn’t wait!” enthused Lesley Mavin, headteacher of Columbia Grange School which caters for 2 to 11 year olds with autism and learning difficulties.
FEATURE: VARIETY UPDATE
was blown away to learn â€™s Charity, as Chief Executive and dren Chil the ety, Vari d joine ntly I rece munity has given us since o Association and the Bingo Com about the amazing support the Bing ntaged children and dva disa g the lives of disabled, sick and 2014. This support is transformin across the UK. young people in our communities enjoy most of the childhood and with the right help they can child a still is bility disa a with A child airs, specialist equipment and granted. Variety provides wheelch experiences that others take for abilities and develop a to have fun and to focus on their sunshine coaches to allow children greater level of independence. wealth of experiences vital to erty prevents them from having the Sadly, for too many children pov to create childhood nity ortu opp social skills as well as the developing their confidence and ds of disadvantaged children s Out programme gives thousan memories. Our Variety Great Day cinemas, museums and more. s, park es like the seaside, theme plac visit to nce cha the r yea h eac wonderfully successful es to play an important part in the Your generosity has and continu â€™s Charity. From the bottom dren Chil ociation and Variety, the Ass o Bing the een betw hip ners part se lives you have changed. alf of Variety and the children who of my heart, I thank you all on beh Thank you. Warmest regards
Frances Lang Chief Executive
ngham: to Priestly Smith School in Birmi 23rd Sunshine Coach presented from Buzz r of Buzz Bingo with managers Simon Shaw, Chief Retail Office CEO Baron Road and Walsall with Miles ol. Bingo Stockland Green, Kingsbury pupils from Priestly Smith Scho and staff and iation Assoc of The Bingo
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FEATURE: BUZZ BINGO
The Biggest BUZZ in bingo: 103 clubs and a Â£40 million investment
FEATURE: BUZZ BINGO
number of towns and bingo players across the country have felt, and seen, the winds of change blow through, as Gala Bingo rebranded to Buzz Bingo, establishing itself as the newest and largest licensed bingo club operator in Great Britain. The transformation is now almost complete and Buzz Bingo has launched all 103 clubs across the country following a staggering investment of £40 million, with the remaining 19 clubs due to be completed by February 2019: players are seeing the changes and experiencing the benefits. The launch of Buzz Bingo has also coincided with the introduction of a brand new online offering - buzzbingo.com. The launch of Buzz Bingo has centred on putting customer experience first, both online and in club. As part the regional launches, Buzz Bingo staff members were asked to nominate local heroes – real regular customers – to officially open their new Buzz Bingo clubs. From May to September this year, Buzz Bingo customers all over the UK came together to celebrate the launch of their new local Buzz Bingo clubs, with spectacular launch parties taking place from Aberdeen to Plymouth. The launch of Buzz Bingo enabled club managers and staff members to thank their customers for their loyalty whilst celebrating the start of an exciting new era.
“All our staff had new uniforms and our customers new membership cards so it required a whole team effort and vigorous planning to make sure we had 2.5m sq feet of retail space rebranded smoothly, on time and within budget.” Simon Shaw, Chief Retail Officer at Buzz Bingo said, September was an extremely busy month for us, we re-branded 98 clubs to add to the early 5 we trialled in the spring. We regionally phased this with 23-25 clubs rebranding every week Tuesday through to Friday, then all having a party on the Saturday, at our peak we rebranded 9 clubs a day. The support from the Property, Projects, Brand, Implementation and Operations and club teams were immense, we are unlikely to ever see this many clubs rebranded over such a short period of
time in the industry ever again. The rebrand consisted of tiered approach to investment but all clubs had external and internal signage, new front of house and welcome area and a stage set, the majority were also repainted internally. All our staff had new uniforms and our customers new membership cards so it required a whole team effort and vigorous planning to make sure we had 2.5m sq feet of retail space rebranded smoothly, on time and within budget. A key partner for us was Frodsham Signs who have done an excellent job to ensure that all our signage delivered on our objectives, Ashley Kimberley of Frodsham Signs said “Frodsham Signs thoroughly enjoyed working with Buzz Bingo property & marketing teams and external design agency to deliver a new exciting & vibrant brand, we would like to thank the board of directors & staff for their organisational skills, hard work and dedication, which in turn made our job easier, making the whole project a great success” Simon went on to say “I must pay tribute to the whole team who played a significant transformation to Buzz Bingo and the reaction and feedback from our customers and club colleagues has been terrific”
Buzz Bingo Local Heroes
Buzz Bingo in Falkirk was one of the first clubs to be rebranded and was opened by 100-year-old Falkirk local, Mima Heaney. Mima, who is a regular player at her local club in Falkirk, was delighted to be invited to
FEATURE: BUZZ BINGO officially open the club and Buzz Bingo granted Mima her wish – to call the charity bingo game on stage! Ian Tippen, a local customer in Leeds, opened his local club on the eve of their launch party in mid-September. Ian, who plays regularly at the club, is a former Olympic torchbearer and has completed 100 marathons. Ian brought his 2012 torch to the club opening – this time taking to the podium in an entirely different capacity! At Wigan Town, the ‘Calendar Girls’ – as they’re affectionately known, came back together after fourteen years to officially cut the ribbon at the Wigan Town launch party. The ‘Calendar Girls’ got their name after they famously recreated a charity ‘Calendar Girls’ style calendar in aid of a Breast Cancer Charity back in 2004, which raised more than £13,500. The ladies reunited to mark the exciting launch and pose for photos for their local paper in Wigan. Weston-Super-Mare’s launch was all about celebrating
the local branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. Duty Manager Shaun Tippens invited volunteers from the charity after recent fundraising efforts in the area caught his attention. The night was a huge success and raised money for the charity.
In Club and online
In addition to the 103 club launches across the country, Buzz Bingo have invested in a brand new online channel powered by leading online gaming provider Playtech. Buzz Bingo’s digital team created buzzbingo.com in just over a year, after compiling market intelligence about all aspects of a player’s online journey from sign up to the size and quantity of jackpots. The website delivers gaming and player engagement capabilities on mobile, tablet, desktop and on touchpads in all clubs. In the future, this technology will allow customers to enjoy seamless play in clubs and online – creating that community feeling on and offline. Stevie Shaves, Digital Director at Buzz Bingo said: “Like our clubs, buzzbingo.com is all about community. We
FEATURE: BUZZ BINGO spent over a year ensuring our online offering is exactly what players want. We’ve captured the in-club feeling of being among friends and delivered it online. When players log into buzzbingo.com, they see where their ‘Buzz Buddies’ are playing and can join their game in seconds. This seamless process truly encompasses what we are all about as a brand.” The launch was supported by a brand new advertising and creative campaign developed by award wining creative agency isobel, which is aiming to attract a new, younger audience.
“We’ve captured the in-club feeling of being among friends and delivered it online. When players log into buzzbingo. com, they see where their ‘Buzz Buddies’ are playing and can join their game in seconds” Amanda Howard, Marketing Director at Buzz Bingo said: “We chose the name ‘Buzz’ Bingo because it’s part of our DNA. Our players and colleagues feel it sums up their experience of being part of our family. We’re focusing on our players and providing them with somewhere they can go to have fun and feel part of a community, no matter who they are or where they’re from. We designed our new ad campaign to highlight and celebrate that our players span all generations and backgrounds. We want the great British public to fall in love with Bingo again.” Buzz Bingo has 100s of slots games online and in club, including 7 exclusive ones. Games include smaller and more frequently won jackpots – as well as progressive jackpot games and there are no wagering requirements on Bingo bonuses. The rebrand from Gala Leisure Ltd to Buzz Bingo started in in May 2018, following the sale of Ladbrokes Coral Group Plc’s retail bingo clubs to Caledonia Investments plc in December 2015. Buzz Bingo will run its clubs and website from its Nottingham and London headquarters. Galabingo.com and its associated Gala Bingo online brands remains the property of GVC Holdings PLC. Galabingo.com and its associated Gala Bingo online brands remains the property of GVC Holdings PLC. 24
FEATURE: BINGO AT EAG INTERNATIONAL & VAE
Unleashing the potential! Reflex Gaming, Bar-X Super Bullion Triple Cabinet
he 10th EAG International and VAE will be held at ExCel London on 15-17th January 2019. For the bingo operator, the show might just hold some unexpected opportunities.
EAG International and VAE is a very unusual show. Owned and run by the industry it serves, the event exists exclusively for the benefit of the industry, with participants playing an active role in developing the showâ€™s strategy.
FEATURE: BINGO AT EAG INTERNATIONAL & VAE Originally an amusements and coin-op event, EAG International and VAE has mirrored changes in the wider leisure sector, rapidly transforming into a destination for a wide spectrum of out-of-home leisure businesses. Of the thousands making their way to London ExCel in January, some will be focused on the operation of machines in pubs, clubs, FECs and arcades, but others are just as likely to be operators of cinemas, bingo, bowling, attractions, indoor play, adventure play, VR attractions and a variety of emerging entertainment sectors. For visitors the show’s timing, right at the start of the New Year, is important. This is the time for finalising investment decisions on products for the coming year, as well as comparing notes with fellow professionals at the numerous seminars, annual gatherings and networking events that take place during the event. For today’s bingo operator, there will be a great deal to see and experience at the show. In fact, 20% of those exhibitors currently registered will be showcasing products of direct relevance to the bingo sector. Of the 200 or so represented manufacturers, many choose the show as a platform for European product launches, a fact well understood by the bingo operators who regularly attend the event. Whether bingo is part of a mixed leisure offering or a destination in itself, today’s operator faces many challenges; a focus on social responsibility, the need to attract younger players and to extend dwell time, and the development of a strong brand that rewards customer loyalty. The modern bingo sector has demonstrated that it is not frightened of re-investment and has a deep understanding of branding. For those seeking to drive revenues and create a competitive edge, EAG International and VAE’s product offering may be broadly divided into four main categories: machines and games content, cash handling and cashless payment systems, supplies and consumables, and marketing and promotion. We’ve hand-picked an interesting selection from the stunning array of products that have been developed with the bingo operator in mind.
Visitors to EAG International will experience the very latest offerings from at least 10 leading machines manufacturers that will be showing their latest Category B3 and Category C machines, including traditional reel-based, video, networked games and those with a community feel. 26
Project Design & Technology Bonus Spins
VISITING COULDN’T BE EASIER!
Times from airports
London City 5 minutes Stansted 35 minutes Gatwick 60 minutes Luton 60 minutes Heathrow 60 minutes
Easy access from
St Pancras Int. 30 minutes Paddington 42 minutes Euston 30 minutes Charing Cross 32 minutes Victoria 32 minutes
Easy road access from
M25 28 miles M11 17 miles North Circular 21 miles Easy parking
Over 3,000 spaces onsite
15th – 17th January 2019 ExCeL London Exhibition Centre
www.attractionsexpo.co.uk EAG produced by
FEATURE: BINGO AT EAG INTERNATIONAL & VAE Manufacturer Blueprint Machines is a relative newcomer to the bingo sector but supplies operators large and small including, Mecca, Buzz, Beacon and independents such as Carlton, Castle and BJ’s Bingo. “We recognise that bingo has a unique set of requirements, so we have been working on our game menus to recognise the ‘softer’ style of games preferred by bingo players,” says James Lowe, Content Manager at Blueprint Operations (top right). “We analyse the data from the machines on-site in bingo halls, in order to understand what bingo players enjoy and to give them more of what they want,” continued James. “Bingo players are notoriously loyal to the machines they love and we have found it to be an advantage to have some dominant game brands on other channels such as pub, online and arcade,” adds Gavin Wright, UK Sales Manager. Blueprint has enjoyed particular success in the bingo sector with its Community Cash Vault offer, especially with the latest Category C menu roll-out. Community Cash Vault is a new multi-game menu housed in the Aurora or Alphastar cabinet for the arcade and bingo markets. Its uniqueness is that that all games when played can trigger the Community Cash Vault. The Big Money reel spins to award either a Cash Value or the Community Cash Vault. Once the Community Cash Vault is triggered all eligible players will be awarded a series of Cash Wins via the Big Money Reel.
James Lowe Content Manager, Blueprint
“One thing we have discovered is that it is possible to offer Category C and B3 product with the same game titles on them and suffer no degradation of cashbox,” says James. “When it comes to premium content games such as Eye of Horus or Fishing Frenzy, bingo sites that have them on both B3 and Category C game menus find that revenues are as good, if not better. We believe that players like to get familiar with games on the lower stake of Cat C before moving on to B3 with more confidence.” Blueprint titles that look set to do well in bingo going forward include the newly-launched Monkey Business Wild and the B3 Luck of the Irish Free Spins, which has done extremely well online. “Our B3 Carbon Premium Menu is now recognised as the market leader in the overall digital bingo offering and we have plans for more exciting content releases throughout the early part of 2019 and beyond, ensuring that operators gain their necessary customer loyalty and subsequent returns in cash box. So, once again 28
Gavin Wright UK Sales Manager, Blueprint
FEATURE: BINGO AT EAG INTERNATIONAL & VAE we are demonstrating that Blueprint is taking its digital offer to a new level,” concluded Gavin Wright. Reflex Gaming has enjoyed developing and providing gaming machines for the bingo sector ever since the company’s inception back in 2004. Current key products consist of two new developments which couldn’t be more different by way of player experience. Firstly, the company’s latest compendium cabinet, GamePro, comes in two formats being Category C and Category B3. The games on each variant offers a first class alternative to the larger providers and with new regular game content downloaded remotely, keeps players engaged and cashboxes healthy. Reflex’s Bar-X Super Bullion 3-player, is also heavily targeted to the bingo market. With its highly impactive lighting, large main feature reels and iconic branding, the company’s latest 3-player machine has made its presence felt to players still hungry for a more traditional gaming experience. With operator selectable stake and prize settings through Cat C, C-Lite and Cat D, Bar-X Super Bullion is intended to offer years of successful on-site operation. Project Design & Technology has a long history of supplying engaging machines for bingo and well understands the need to keep regular customers engaged. “We’re currently testing a range of Category B3 and C products for launch at EAG International,” confirms Managing Director Tony Boulton. Astra Games, part of the NOVOMATIC Group always has a strong presence at the show and will be displaying the impressive Categories B3 and C Big Bonus Wheel, currently enjoying success with Mecca Bingo and Buzz Bingo. Amongst Astra Games’ impressive showcase will be games featuring the highly successful Batman and Austin Powers licenses. Other machine manufacturers and distributors who have confirmed their presence at the show include Ace Gaming/7’s Above, RLMS, Crown Direct, Electrocoin and Wessex Coin.
Cash handling and cashless systems at EAG International and VAE The EAG International and VAE exhibitor list reads like a who’s who of world-class companies all focused on helping to securely process the cash in the business.
FEATURE: BINGO AT EAG INTERNATIONAL & VAE
Big Bonus Wheel - Astra Games
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We all know that failed coin mechanisms, hoppers and bill acceptors can not only infuriate customers but have an opportunity cost. No less than 10 best of breed companies will be on-hand to show the very latest bill and coin acceptors and validators, change machines and coin and note counters, along with the spares required to ensure uninterrupted business. Look out for the latest offerings from Astrosystems, GeWeTe, Hemisphere West, Innovative Technology, JCM Europe and Cummins Allison. Cummins Allison has been at the cutting-edge of cash handling technology, providing efficient, durable and reliable machines to the bingo industry. The company will be featuring its extensive Jetsort® range of coin sorters and counters, along with the JetScan® 150 note counter, now featuring new connectivity to industry-standard software. 30
GamePro Triple – Reflex gaming
FEATURE: BINGO AT EAG INTERNATIONAL & VAE
Cummins Allison JetSort
Cummins Allison JetScan®
EAG International and VAE has a reputation for attracting specialists from other markets who bring transformational products to our sector. One such business, eLOQ Security, will be showing an intelligent smart key system for locks and padlocks, designed to secure all cash and eliminate the operating nightmare of lost keys and unauthorised access to machines. For some, cash may still be king but the cashless society is now well and truly with us, with operators embracing the benefits of cashless solutions in many areas of their business. Each year EAG International and VAE exhibitors of cashless technologies report increasing levels of business, as operators capitalise on the operating efficiencies and valuable marketing data that they deliver. Not only will visitors be treated to an impressive range of integrated revenue and business information systems from companies such as Playsafe Systems, Semnox Solutions, SACOA and Nayax, but expert impartial advice will also be on-hand from international consultancy Hemisphere West. Ian Fuller, Commercial Director at PlaySafe Systems, confirms that we can expect some exciting new programs, including Playsafe Performance and CashDesk. Playsafe Performance is a cloud-based programme configured to deliver key site data quickly and easily from a mobile device. CashDesk keeps track
of cash in the cash desk, refills, hand pay-outs, claims, refunds and promotions. “The bingo sector is an important and large part of our business. We have significant partners such as Mecca, Castle and Majestic Bingo that help us innovate and create new products to help them grow their businesses, “explains Ian.
Supplies and consumables
A reliable source of high quality supplies is essential for the smooth running of any terrestrial bingo operation and they can also provide incremental income and a great branding opportunity. These are the products the customer physically engages with and speak volumes about the overall operation. EAG and VAE will be showcasing the latest products, including tickets and flyers plus dabbers and markers of every design, colour and even scent. High on the must-see list for many bingo operators will be the Syndicate UK stand. With clients throughout the UK, Europe and Asia, Syndicate is a major direct supplier to independent bingo clubs of bingo tickets and promotional items, with product lines including bingo accessories, redemption tickets, raffle tickets, wristbands and other consumables. Syndicate has had a tremendous growth record in the last two decades, due to its innovation and development of new products for the leisure industry. The company has also achieved
FEATURE: BINGO AT EAG INTERNATIONAL & VAE
Bingo Cards from Syndicate UK
recognition for best manufactured products from trade bodies.
Marketing and promotion
Bingo is a compelling game that has stood the test of time. One size, however, does not fit all and successful operators are those that innovate, promote and build customer loyalty. A number of membership and loyalty management systems will also be on show at EAG International and VAE. Important for customer retention they can ensure that customers are not only aware of special events and promotions but are also rewarded for their loyalty. Several of EAG International and VAE’s exhibitors are focused on customer communications. Services on display will include graphic design and printing encompassing everything from leaflets to large-format graphics to communicate offers, promotions and new game launches. Exhibitor Shipley Creative even offers a total mailshot solution, designing and printing the complete piece and then securely mailing it to the operator’s customers. This is a very popular service with the company handling more than 5 million pieces of mail annually. The company started life as a print department supporting three large Shipley venues with all forms of promotional material produced in-house. It was then 32
that Shipley Creative came to the attention of several independent bingo operators who began to use its services, drawing upon its experience of operating within this sector. The team’s familiarity with the leisure industry, and gaming in particular, gives Shipley Creative a distinct advantage over competitors. It is also one of the reasons Shipley Creative is open seven days a week and operates until 7pm in the evening; they are there when the customer needs them, with the capability of turning jobs around quickly to meet deadlines. The bingo industry has a history of constantly evolving to stay ahead. With great products, educational seminars and relaxed networking visit to EAG International and VAE will give your business the best possible start to 2019. EAG International and VAE’s home is ExCel London, winner of many awards for its facilities and ease of access. Visit www.eagexpo.com for an up-to-date exhibitor list, floor plan, travel advice and information about on-site hotels and restaurants. Take the first step towards unleashing the potential of EAG International and VAE 2019 by registering at www.eagexpo.com. We’re looking forward to welcoming you! issue 028
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