Eyes Down For UK Bingo Wars

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Britain has become so hooked on playing internet poker spending an astonishing £19 million a day on the game. But now a new player has come to town in the form of online bingo, and the nation is set to be gripped by bingo wars - a billion pound battle to get the UK's five million bingo fans playing online.

ThinkBingo.com, the UK's leading bingo site, where members play alongside each other just like in a bingo hall - was launched last August and its players are already claiming £35,000 of prizes every day. Now Gala Bingo, Virgin and Yahoo have announced they too will be running bingo online, with Mecca expected to follow suit, to battle it out to be the biggest online bingo player of all.

The British are taking to online bingo in a bigger way than anywhere else in the world. In a year's time it’s forecast that more than 250,000 will be playing online bingo on a regular basis, spending over £1 million a day. Dylan Schlosberg, spokesman for ThinkBingo.com says: "There are more bingo players in this world than poker players. Unlike poker, everyone knows how to play bingo. In five years’ time online bingo will be as big, if not bigger, than poker.”

"Three or four years ago most people playing in bingo halls were pensioners. Now bingo is the biggest leisure activity for women aged 25 to 45 living outside London. Around half of online players still go to their local bingo hall too. Bingo halls are not going to disappear tomorrow but companies like Mecca and Gala have realized that having a flutter online has become big business in the UK."

Search engine, Yahoo, currently offers hourly £1,000 bingo prizes in the UK. Now Gala Bingo, Britain's biggest bingo operator has jumped in sharing the same platform as Yahoo and Sir Richard Branson's VirginGames.com has launched a multi-player bingo game on the Yahoo-Gala network. Meanwhile, Britain's other bingo giant, Mecca, currently has single player bingo games online but is expected to launch its own online community where players compete against each other.

Unlike poker, Britain's online bingo fans play for low stakes - from just 10 pence to £1 a game - for smaller but more regular prizes. And while they are playing bingo, customers chat online and make friends, just as they would at a real bingo club. Many of them become real-life friends. Romance even blossomed for one couple on ThinkBingo.com who fell in love after becoming pals at on the site.

Schlosberg says: "Online bingo is a club. It's real people communicating, playing, being happy, getting upset. The members confide their problems and help each other with their difficulties. There's a real camaraderie among players.”


Dylan Schlosberg

+44 20 7725 7064



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Dylan Schlosberg
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