Never mind that 888 have just bought Wink Bingo for £60m, PartyGaming swept up Foxy Bingo for £72m and that the Times has predicted a 25% growth in the sector next year, according to a recent study online bingo is under threat from roulette, due to the migration of female gamblers.
While in the United States roulette has long been established as the most popular form of internet gambling for the fairer sex, bingo has perennially been the UK woman’s online game of choice.
However, Gaming Supermarket claim that there has been a huge upsurge in popularity of roulette among female players – a development that could have a detrimental effect on the bingo sector.
The study suggests that the more conversant female users have become with the online gaming arena the greater their appetite to explore beyond the boundaries of bingo has become. And it seems that it is roulette that has now pricked the female curiosity.
The attraction of roulette lies in its essential simplicity, its potential for huge payouts and its long-standing association with the glitz and glamour of traditional casinos. Think James Bond and the image of beautiful ladies surrounding a roulette wheel instantly comes to mind – well, my mind.
Of course offline gambling is very different from the virtual reality but Gaming Supermarket nonetheless insist that online roulette is beginning to make a significant impact on the internet due in part to live roulette, played on the internet and the television, helping enhance its appeal.
“We all knew the bingo boom would not last forever, and although I think it is far from over I think the cracks are starting to show,” claims a hasty David Merry, editor of live roulette. “Roulette provides women with the chance to win serious cash, very quickly, so it is easy to see why they would be attracted.”
There is an increasing number of live roulette television channels cropping up on satellite TV as well as Freeview and even terrestrial TV has even got in on the act, airing ‘SuperCasino.com’ on the Five channel.
“The birth of live roulette on TV has also prompted interest from women browsing through the channels and ensures that women feel they are part of something live and communal, much like they get with bingo currently.”
Merry added that liveroulette.co.uk had seen a six-fold increase in new female visitors from this time last year. “A recent survey conducted on our website showed 38% of our new visitors were female, compared to only 6% at the same point the previous year.”
However, William Hill insist that there is no noticeable trend of cross-migration between bingo and roulette. “There is nothing to suggest that customers are moving away from one sector to the other,” said Hills’ spokeswoman Jenny Prest. “There is a small percentage of customers that will use bingo as well as a selection of our casino products but there is no noticeable migration.”
It seems then that roulette has a long way to go to genuinely replace bingo in the affections of British women, who have been so specifically targeted by online operators that 888 even have a site called 888 Ladies. Only last week the Times referred to bingo as the ‘the fastest growing segment in the online gambling market’ and if roulette want to compete they will have to go a bit further to capture Monte Carlo chic than a low budget late night show on Five.