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Evidence suggests Bingo is Big in Wales

Bingo is one of the most popular forms of gambling in Britain, but how popular is it in Wales? Very popular, judging by the evidence.

According to the UK Gambling Commission, there are 650 licenced bingo premises throughout the United Kingdom. In Wales, there are 36. That might not sound like much. However, Wales accounts for just 4.7% of the UK population but 5.5% of all licenced bingo premises. That too might not sound like much, but what it really means is Wales punches about 17% above its relative weight.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests bingo is huge in Wales. Consider that three Merthyr Tydfil residents won big bingo jackpots within a month of each other in August-September last year. Merthyr Tydfil, for those who haven’t been, has a population of fewer than 8,000 residents. Greater London, by contrast, has almost 9 million residents. If Londoners were to experience the same luck as residents of Merthyr Tydfil, then you could expect more than 3,000 Londoners to win big bingo jackpots each month.

One of the reasons for bingo’s popularity in Wales is that it’s always been a popular pastime. In recent years, the rise of the game has only served to bring bingo to ever-more Welsh players.

How many Welsh people play online bingo?

Getting exact figures on Welsh online bingo players is difficult, given that the UK Gambling Commission only compiles figures for the UK as a whole and not for each of the home nations.

What we do know from the commission’s most recent annual report is that the British gambling industry is worth £14.5 billion per year in total gross gambling yield. Online bingo, sports betting and casino account for a combined £5.6 billion, while non-remote bingo accounts for £677 million. Assuming Wales punches above its weight in the online bingo arena too, it’s clear the Welsh bingo market is worth hundreds of millions of pounds per year – a lot for a country of just over 3 million people.

Which devices do Welsh people prefer for online bingo?

Based on a separate Gambling Commission report on gambling participation, 51 of every 100 British online gamblers use their mobile device to access online bingo and other gambling sites.

Like their counterparts in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, Welsh people are increasingly turning to mobile bingo and betting sites. Ofcom has noted that three-quarters of adults in Wales now use a smartphone, in line with the UK average. What’s more, people in rural Wales are just as likely to own a smartphone as in Cardiff or Swansea. In fact, rural Wales has seen the fastest growth in smartphone ownership of all areas in the UK since 2016, outdoing Welsh cities and England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Judging by the news reports, the residents of Merthyr Tydfil prefer playing bingo at bricks-and-mortar bingo halls. Very soon, we’ll probably hear about the very same people winning jackpots and claiming bonuses on top online bingo sites.

Verdict: Online Bingo Big and Getting Bigger in Wales

So, there you have it. Bingo is big business in Wales and it’s only going to get bigger due to the ease of access provided by online bingo sites and mobile bingo apps. We’re not yet aware of any bingo sites in the Welsh language but given the popularity of bingo in Welsh-speaking rural areas – it might not be far away.