The Guardian website run an article yesterday on the returns from a recent Bingo survey run by the online bingo network St Minver. The results show that as many as one in ten Bingo players will give up playing at Bingo halls because of the smoking ban – and one in three will play less often.
That’s some pretty startling statistics and does seem to reflect the situation as it’s been reported recently after the first year of profits in smoke-free Scotland. Mecca itself has seen a 10% drop in admissions – but that’s not necessarily the same as one in ten stopping going. In fact, it could be that the same amount of people will go, just less often.
As much as I like what St Minver have done with online bingo, there are some concerns for me on this survey, and the Guardian’s report. Firstly, it’s described as a survey of Bingo players. This is not true. It’s a survey of online bingo players. The distinction is important as the two groups aren’t necessarily the same. In fact, the differences between Bingo players and online bingo players is so marked it could create a big skew.
There’s another problem I have with the results of this survey. It’s important to note that people were given financial incentives to take part with the offer of free money for Bingo to do so. This creates another possible vector for skewing the results, as people take part and answer how they think the people paying them want them to answer.
As well as the incentive of extra money, there was a further draw for extra money for those who entered. This leads us to another potential skew. If you play at more than one St Minver site (and many do) you will have received more than one request to do the survey – and many would have for the extra draw entry and the standard incentive.
Now, personally I did the survey twice, as each site that asked me to do it didn’t state that the results were for the pool of sites running the survey, rather than each site. I know many people will have jumped at the chance to fill in the survey for the money and done it more than once.
As to how these potential skews affected the results I can only speculate – they may not have actually made much difference – but I’m surprised these potential issues weren’t picked up by the press. It’s also telling that the more positive aspects of the survey haven’t been highlighted. I know I said (twice) that I’d be more likely to go to Bingo *more often* once the smoking ban was in place.
Am I alone in thinking this smoking ban is a good thing for the industry or is the negative spin doing its job? What job you ask? Obliterating discussion and the potential highlighting of the Bingo industry’s lack of action and imagination in tackling the problems with this ban. Time will tell.