When most people think of bingo, there’s one country that tends to come to mind: the UK. The UK was the cradle of the popularity of the now global game, and today has had a huge revival in popularity here. But exactly how big is the UK bingo market? It’s a more complicated question than you might think, involving a number of factors. Today, we’re going to take a deep look at the state of the bingo market in the UK—from the physical bingo halls to the online games and apps, one thing is clear: bingo is more popular than ever!
Let’s look into this.
Today, bingo halls are not as popular as they once were. That is clear to see—and there are many reasons for it. But that isn’t to say that they are completely dying out. They are still very much present. The number has gone up and down a great deal over the past decade or so. The most recent peak in terms of numbers of premises was in 2014, at 710—that has since fallen to around 600.
In 1980, there were around 1600 bingo halls in the UK. So, you can see the number has plainly gone down, but they are far from dead. The very fact that their numbers fluctuate as they do suggests that the future of the bingo hall is far from certain. Modern versions of the game, too, have sought to attract younger players, such as Dabbers bingo.
Tens of thousands of players a year enjoy regularly playing in physical bingo halls, and they still bring in around £10 million per year in profit, in total. So, while the revenue is not as high as it once was, the industry clearly still has a lot of innovations to bring to the table to keep the bingo halls open.
The real driving force of the popularity of bingo today is, without doubt, the online version of the game.
On an average year, the total bingo economy generates around £1 billion in revenue. There are an estimated 350 different online bingo sites available to UK residents, which are played by around 3.5 million people regularly.
The numbers, then, do not lie. Clearly, online bingo is where the future of the game is. The estimated number of smartphone users is predicted to reach around 65 million by 2025. This has been the main reason for the success of online bingo.
Now, people can play bingo anywhere, anytime, using their mobile device—and it’s easier than ever. Apps are far more intuitive and user friendly, which has driven a huge boom in their use for virtually everything.
But web-based bingo is still enormously popular, too. The fact is that, now, people have countless options for being able to play bingo. If you prefer your old computer, you can find countless sites to play bingo. But if you like to play on the go, you can use your device to access any number of popular bingo apps.
People enjoy bingo in its own right, and while there is always the chance of winning some money, it’s mostly the game and the thrill that attract people. This is another reason why online bingo will doubtless grow alongside the traditional, physical bingo hall.
In the gambling economy
So, at the end of the day, where does that leave bingo as a percentage of the whole gambling market in the UK? Well, as you might imagine, the total gambling market in the UK is huge—worth around £14.2 billion pounds a year. The vast majority of that is accounted for by sports betting companies and the offers they give customers.
Bingo, though, remains the fourth most popular ways to bet in the UK. It represented a 3% share in the total online gambling market in 2018, while bingo halls were actually slightly higher that year, at 4.7%.
In terms of taxation, bingo taxes bring around £30 million into the economy every year. Plainly, bingo represents a significant chunk of an already enormous market. Whether that’s online, or in bingo halls, the total amount that the game brings in remains very high. It’s hard to predict where it will go in the future, but it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
So, as you can see, bingo in the UK is huge. Though the bingo halls will perhaps never return to the glory days of the past, they are far from being left behind by the online sphere. Bingo halls are still popular and attended by many people, from all different demographics—young to old. But the real boom has, indeed, been in online bingo. It is huge, and gaining new players every day. Keep an eye on it if you want to stay ahead of the betting market!