Smoking Ban Warning

Smoking Ban WarningA new survey from St Minver who run the bingo network which includes Virgin Bingo and Littlewoods Bingo amongst others, has revealed the most compelling data yet about the kind of impact that the ban on smoking in public place will have on bingo in the UK. The survey questioned 3,000 bingo players, and result predict that whilst traditional bingo clubs will suffer huge losses in attendance, internet bingo rooms are likely to benefit from a new influx of online players.

The research shows that 62% of bingo players are “active smokers”. This means that the majority of bingo players will be affected by the ban and will have to choose between playing without smoking or not playing in a traditional club environment at all. 33% of smokers say that they will play at bingo clubs less often than they do right now. 21% say that they will end their memberships at their existing clubs. And a whopping 10% vow to stop playing in clubs altogether.

63% of bingo players who smoke say that they will spend more on bingo online, and whilst this is undoubtedly good news for the online bingo community as well as the online industry as a whole, it does suggest that the same number of players are likely to spend less in traditional bingo clubs. This would have as big an impact as the one in ten that plan to stop playing altogether, and could well devastate many bingo clubs that are already struggling thanks to heavy taxation.

“From our research, it appears that land-based bingo clubs are likely to suffer in wake of the smoking ban,” said Leigh Nissim, the managing director of St Minver (UK). “Not only do players disagree with the ban, but they’re less likely to visit clubs as a result. Clubs who haven’t yet launched their online site must do so quickly to protect their business and customer base.”

Although the smoking ban will be welcomed by the a small group of bingo players – most notably the elderly and those suffering from respiratory illnesses – this group may not be pleased to see how the absence of many smokers from the bingo clubs adversely affects prize levels. Most major chains are planning to introduce measures that will allow players to smoke outdoors whilst still participating in bingo games, but with British weather being so unpredictable it is unlikely that these measures will be enough to prevent club memberships declining rapidly once the ban comes into force on 1st July.

Article Last Updated: 24/05/2007 11:13:09