It’s been a busy month for me, I’ve had a number of work related things to sort out, and spent almost a week in Amsterdam rubbing shoulders with operators and fellow webmasters at a couple of conferences targeting affiliates. There’s been a lot happening that I just haven’t had the chance to cover. So, for your entertainment here’s a few interesting stories from the previous few weeks, with links for further reading.
First up was the news that ITV Bingo has shut its doors. Despite the plaudits that Bingo Night Live gained as the next big bingo thing last year, it never managed to translate into players for the online service it aimed to push players towards. As I commented at the time the programme was on air, player numbers in the rooms at ITV Bingo were not very impressive, and without the programme, things never got any better. If you were one of the few people who were playing at the site then you can still use your username and details at ITV Bingo’s supplier site, Party Bingo.
There was an interesting story from the Wythenshawe Gala Bingo about a protest staged by a pensioner who missed out on a £1000 prize after the caller missed her call. Elaine Prendergast had to be removed by the police following her complaint that the caller had missed her claim. Last year a similar dispute was settled following the review of a sound recording at the club. Unfortunately for Elaine, such a facility was not available at the club. It’s an age-old problem, and once again as an ex-caller the only thing I can say is that if you’re going to shout, shout loud.
Keeping in the retail world, members at the Cascade Bingo Hall in Lurgan, Northern Ireland where subjected to a horrific ordeal as armed robbers set about stealing handbags and cash from them last week. Luckily, no one was hurt in the incident, and police are asking anyone with information on the robbers to contact them.
Following the budget tax blow for bingo, a number of stories have appeared featuring the industry’s reaction and lobbying actions. Rather than go into too much detail you an catch up with the in-depth reportage from Rochdale, from Bradford, and Bingo Supermarket. The latter site also features an interesting piece from independent bingo operator, Roger Cooper of The Seldis Cooper Group, who directly accuses the Government of purposefully aiming its tax rise at women, comparing the rise in bingo and it’s demographic against the lack of a rise for betting shops and their male demographic.
It would also seem that my long standing suggestion that the industry should target a different, younger audience with a different kind of bingo offering is finally materialising in action from the industry. There’s a couple of interesting stories around new nights that are successfully pulling in younger punters. Both have their roots directly in the success of the spirit of the Rebel Underground Bingo Club.
Firstly, Mecca Bingo Beeston opened last week and is introducing a new late night session that would seem to be a direct port of the Rebel night, but with the name of After-Dark Binglo. Starting after the end of a normal bingo night, this Saturday night event looks like fun and has all the elements of the Rebel night right down to prizes from Firebox.com. It will be interesting to see if it’s a hit. On a slight tangent, the Beeston club could be the start of something big for Mecca Bingo, but I’m slightly alarmed that they’ve gone for the pink scheme at the club and its promotion. It’s like the curse of online colour schemes and gender stereotypes is hitting the decoration of the retail landscape. I hope this is a one off and not the start of a trend.
As well as the Beeston night, Beacon Bingo in Loughborough is launching its own special bingo night called Meltdown. The night has already proved a success in its Northampton club, and will see music being played over the numbers and drag queen hosts. It’s good to see these things being trialled, and I for one would love to get out to one of these nights at some point to see how they go down. Interesting stuff!
And there you have, stuff that’s caught my attention recently. Time’s just flying by, I can’t believe it’s only a month now to the 4th Online Bingo Summit, which I will be attending. Unfortunately, things are going to be a bit patchy around here for the next couple of months as I’m taking a bit of a break from my work online to participate in the making of a feature film. As soon as that’s done though, I’ll be back to this with my usual moans and candid opinions on the game.