Gambling firms betting on internet bingo boom
Posted by Bev Freeman on 14 八月 2009 at 13:08
The growth of internet bingo could provide a big boost for online bookmakers after analysts predicted revenue from the game will go up by more than 20 per cent in 2009 and 2010.
The likes of William Hill, 888 Holdings and PartyGaming are expecting the boom to continue.
Bloomberg reported research company H2 Gambling Capital has supplied data showing revenue from bingo will touch $1.3 billion by the end of this year and $1.6 billion next year.
The bingo scene has been doing better than other formats during the ongoing recession and is still growing compared to other games, said Simon Holliday, director of H2.
Bloomberg quoted him as saying: “Online bingo is in such an early growth phase that any recessionary impacts are outweighed by its newness.
"This is often supply-driven demand. It relates to availability and how heavily things are marketed."
William Hill has revealed revenue for internet bingo and more skill-based games has gone up by 50 per cent in the first half of this year.
The company believes gross bingo sales will increase by 50 per cent in 2010.
Ladbrokes on the other hand has recorded a 30 per cent rise in online bingo revenue.
Both bookmakers have seen street store sales drop.
888 Holdings has also said it expects to generate around $100 million in yearly revenue from bingo eventually, compared to current figures of $40 million.
Bloomberg quoted chief executive Gigi Levy as saying he expected bingo to match the interest in online poker in five years and also forecast around 50 per cent to 100 per cent per year growth for bingo in some countries.
Poker itself still appears to be growing. Global betting and gaming consultants have said revenue from the game across the planet, less players winnings, could reach $3.9 billion in 2009 compared to $3.5 billion in 2008.
However, the UK bingo market has its own problems offline. Revenue from clubs is expected to drop dramatically this year after companies battled the smoking ban and the economic slump. Bingo operators have also had to deal with tax hikes in the UK.
Bloomberg reported both William Hill and PartyGaming shares have performed better than the FTSE 100 index this year. Ladbrokes on the other hand slipped 5.5 per cent and 888 by 20 per cent.
A number of UK bookmakers have recently announced they are moving their online operations to Gibraltar in an effort to save tax money.
There have also been some high-profile deals this year, with PartyGaming, which owns PartyPoker.com, buying the bingo specialist Cashcade.
Bloomberg quoted Wyn Ellis, of Numis Securities, as saying bingo “really has been an area of very significant growth, particularly in the UK”.
The boom of bingo could be linked to the alternative it poses to poker, traditionally male-dominated in terms of marketing images.
Online bingo tends to appeal more directly to women players, who make up the majority of the game's fans.
Officials at William Hill have said visitors to its bingo games are mainly women typically in their early thirties and fond of low wagers.
Simon Collins, chief operating officer of PartyGaming, told Bloomberg around 70 per cent of people registered on Cashcade UK sites are women, and most of them between 25 and 45.
Just how far online bingo penetrates into some markets could depend on the prevalence of broadband internet in households - a luxury more common in younger families.