July has certainly been a bustling and busy month for bingo news, so prepare yourself...
There's plenty to keep you busy for a while: we've had news of steady growth in the online bingo market, a brand new building design for Tombola and a bankrupted bingo boss. And that's not all. We'll take a look at a bingo session that ended in a bang and a trial, a huge bingo theft and a couple of new bingo research findings. We'll round it all off with a couple of happy birthdays.
Latest figures from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) suggest that, although land-based gambling may be on the decline, the online bingo market is holding steady.
This means that the percentage of remote betting, including bingo played on BingoPort and elsewhere online, now makes up a huge 29% of the UK’s betting industry market! Bingo hall attendance has decreased in recent years, with the number of ‘bingo premises drop[ping] 10.1%’ in the period from October 2014 to September 2015.
What’s absolutely certain is that online bingo is here to stay. Jump on the bandwagon with the best new bingo sites right here.
The worlds of bingo and architecture don’t often collide. But when they do, something special is sure to happen. Especially when the businesses involved are both leading companies in their fields.
Tombola Bingo, well-known for its innovative games, have chosen the acclaimed Ryder Architecture to build their new company HeadQuarters.
Paul Cronin, CEO of Tombola, has been quoted as saying “Originating and developing the best gaming software means attracting and retaining the best talent in a growing and highly competitive market. Providing world-class facilities for our team – and future employees – will help us achieve this.”
£5 million will be spent on the new development, which will ‘create a great working environment that reflects the culture of Tombola and the importance they place on their people’ – so says Ronnie Graham, who headed up the team that produced the design.
If all goes to plan, Tombola could be in their new facilities as early as September 2017. But the removal vans won’t have to take them far: the new building will be next to Tombola’s current site, at Wylam Wharf, Sunderland.
The bingo hall director who allowed his company to fall into debts of almost £1m has received a 6-year boardroom ban.
The decision comes after it was established that Alder Peter Morelli had failed to pay the correct amount of tax, file annual returns or account for company expenses. The Northern Irish business, Bingo Vision Limited, went into liquidation 2 years ago, owing a huge £941,554.
Perhaps it was the general shift towards online bingo that provided a stumbling block, from which the company just couldn’t recover.
5 men are on trial in Manchester Crown Court, accused of shooting a woman, who was protecting her son outside Gala bingo. Marie Calder had finished her game, and called her son, Scott (then 22), who drove to meet her.
Unbeknown to Scott, 2 cars had been watching his every move. One followed him into the carpark, while the other blocked off a road outside.
Marie Calder, who had been sheltering from the rain, received a phone call from Scott to tell her he’d arrived. They sat in the car while Scott had a drink; his door (the driver’s side) was then flung open. 2 individuals attempted to drag Mr Calder out of the car, whilst his mother sought to keep him in.
In the mayhem that followed there were 3 gunshots; 2 hit the car, but a third struck Marie on her watchstrap. ‘It was like being punched’, she told staff at the hospital later, after the pair had managed to escape.
It is alleged that the Calders had ties to a family of crime, with ‘enemies as far [away] as Glasgow’, and that the defendants were after Scott following a drugs dispute in which Scott allegedly stole £38 000 worth of cocaine from them. It is claimed that they had previously warned Calder’s brother that they’d be coming for him. Scott’s mother recognised one of the attackers, but initially failed to tell officers his name, for fear of retribution.
John Calder Jr, brother to Scott Calder, was reportedly taken hostage several days later. His sister alleges that he was 'kidnapped, stripped naked and beaten with a knuckle duster'. The defendents deny these charges.
In a further twist, Marie Calder was presented with £50 000, which, it is believed, was meant to ensure silence from her and a lack of criminal proceedings. She and her husband hid the unspent money in their attic.
The trial continues.
What would you do if you won £1.6 million at bingo? And then a further £250 000?
Well, hopefully not the same as Tracey Stevenson, who almost doubled her winnings by stealing more money from the building company that she worked for.
2 UK houses and a holiday home in Spain don’t come cheap, and even with Stevenson’s big wins, her gambling addiction couldn’t pay for her dream lifestyle. So, she began siphoning off money from her employers, altering records, writing fake cheques and transferring the funds into her personal bank account. The theft amounted to £1.7m!
When the company discovered it was in financial trouble, it began to investigate. Stevenson went off sick, and her deception remained hidden until her husband found a suicide note admitting to the crime.
He informed his wife’s bosses, and Tracey has since been jailed for 4 years.
Dr. Bedford, an academic, has published a three-year bingo project, revolved around the game of bingo and gambling regulations. She wants to draw attention to the complex game of bingo, that often gets underlooked due to its 'distinctive demographic'.
This report looks at the way bingo is regulated in the UK and Wales, Brazil, Canada and the European Union. It makes use of testimonials from over 200 interviewees, consisting of first-hand experience of bingo.
Bedford hopes that by publishing this report, we can develop 'new ways of thinking about gambling regulation more generally'. Indeed, this project is quite an interesting read. If you want to find out more, give 'The Bingo Project' a try.
A study by the Responsible Gambling Trust has now found that 1 in 10 bingo players are at risk of developing an addiction to bingo. They also found that 2.5% of the people surveyed had already developed an addition, and only 7% tried to seek professional help. This is despite the fact that 96% of those surveyed thought that bingo was about socialising rather than making money.
Iain Corby, a member of the Responsible Gambling Trust, believes that while bingo can be a 'safe environment', there are many bingo players who 'don't ask for help when they need it'. This study calls for the public and regular bingo players to be aware of the possible dangers of addiction.
Finally, let’s end this month with the best type of news: a feel-good story. Gladys Mott turned the ripe age of 106 this month, and celebrated in style at her local bingo club, where she is a regular player.
Crawley-based Gladys keeps a busy social schedule. She eventually retired from dancing at the impressive age of 97, but still keeps her mind agile, playing bingo 3 times a week.
And what better way to celebrate any birthday – let alone your 106th – with a good game of bingo?
The club commemorated the special day with a dance-themed cake, and Gladys thrilled everyone with comments that she’d had a ‘wonderful’ life.
And Gladys isn’t the only birthday girl. Minnie Rudderham turned 100 this month, and also celebrated it at her regular bingo club. Minnie frequents the club every Monday and Wednesday, and felt that ‘it was nice to have everyone together’ for her birthday.
Happy Birthday Gladys and Minnie, with love from BingoPort.
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