Bingo within the UK is changing and the market is becoming quite saturated, which has led to more operators seeking out new markets. This shift within the industry comes from a number of different aspects, which includes the following.
Crackdowns by UKGC and ASA
Both the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are taking gambling operators to task over a range of different guidelines. They want to make the market fairer, which means some sites are being fined for unfair terms. This can be as simple as leaving out a certain term on their advertising or suggestion made by a promotion.
In the last few years, we’ve seen more of these cases being opened against operators, being fuelled by customer complaints. The consumer has more power than ever, as a single complaint can effectively cause a full-blown investigation.
This has had a serious effect on the world of bingo, as operators have to spend more time on their compliance. Operators are also being held responsible for the actions of their affiliates too, as they can be fined for promotional material that the use. This has led to some operators ceasing this form of advertising, as they just can’t check all of the material out there about their brand.
This decreases their visibility overall, but they take the opinion of being better safe than sorry. The money that they could potentially be fined means that this form of advertising can be difficult to break even with. With record fines being handed out to the bigger names in the industry, they would have to intake hundreds of new players in order to offset this cost.
Other forms of marketing can be easier for operators to deal with, as they are doing so in-house. They’re in control of the creative that they put out there and thus they can make sure that they are fully compliant. This still has its risks though, as there are other aspects that have to be attended to, such as the visibility of the terms in certain ads.
The taxes that have been plaguing the industry have really taken their toll on bingo operators. With so many of these taxes being levied against bonuses and profits, operators may feel that the profits are reduced and no longer worth the hassle. This has led to a lot of bingo site closures that could have otherwise been avoided.
On sites where players are accustomed to receiving large amounts of bonuses, they are now being let down by their absence. For certain bonus hunting player, this just means they leave to play on other sites. These sites may simply feel that paying the tax is worth it to bring their players better value for money, which will mean they get more of these players joining their ranks.
Prior to 2017, there was a Point of Consumption tax, which was paid as the bets were made by the operator. This was manageable and would still have the potential to create a profit from the operators’ point of view. However, increased POC tax and the new bonus tax have seriously impacted their potential to make money.
If you look into the changes that have come into play within the finances of this sector, you can see why so many sites have closed in the UK.
The Impact of Brexit
Brexit had a huge impact on the pound and meant that the currency of the UK is worthless. For operators that work in a range of different markets overseas, this meant that the taxes in this sector were increased and also the money they made was worth a lower amount.
With so many options out there for overseas operators, simply abandoning this market may be more profitable for them. This has led to many established brands closing their UK operations for good, narrowing what is available to these players.
Competition within the industry has also been increased, with white label operators making it simpler for people to open up their own sites. This increased competition makes it more difficult for individual sites to stand out, as there are many more out there.
With these networked sites, it can also be harder to offer something unique. With the same promotions and games rolled out across the network, how can you show that your site is better than the rest? These can be quite restrictive for operators, as they have the task of asking the network to add in new promotions for them, which not all are happy to do.
There are ways that operators can create standalone sites and platforms, but a study by newsiteforbingo.com shows that this is a less popular option. This can end up costing an operator more money and they don’t have as much support from the wider network.
It is the opinion of most that watch the industry, the changes that have been made so far are just the beginning. As we move forward in the coming years, many feel that the legislation in the industry will only get worse. This includes the increased awareness of the responsible gambling message, which right now is elective. This could become mandatory in the coming years, as the government aims to tackle gambling addiction.
Some of the larger operators out there is part of responsible gaming initiative, which comes in the form of the Senet Group. It has been speculated that they are involved in this in order to potentially offset any issues that they have concerning responsible gambling later down the line. If they fall foul of this regulation, then they could use their voluntary participation as a potential positive element in their defense.
There are so many changes to the industry, which have had an effect on the operators and the variety of sites available to UK players. This is not likely to be the end of these changes either, as the gambling industry is ever more policed.