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Casinos set to gamble on bingo

Venues in France hoping to attract a younger clientele with new games after seeing revenues fall

BINGO could be the saviour of French casinos, it has emerged.

After seeing its success in both Britain and Spain, three casinos are testing the game. But rather than attract the blue-rinse crowd, they are hoping it will attract the 18-34 age group.

They’re hoping that the old British seafront favourite will turn around ailing fortunes that saw casino revenues drop 4.25% across France to €2.17bn in 2013.

The first few months of this year have been no better. Revenues are still down - especially among slot machines, the cash cows of the 1990s.

However, the number of people aged 18-34 attending casinos has risen over the past 12 months, and they spend more when they go.

Dominique Desseigne, head of the powerful Barrière group which runs 37 casinos in France described the popularity of the venues with a new generation as “reassuring”, while Marie-Pierre Landowski, president of Emerald Group, which owns and runs eight casinos urged caution. He said: “We have felt a tremor among younger people, but must confirm these intentions.”

Hopes are high for both bingo, and the Wheel of Fortune game, which was approved for casinos by interior minister Manuel Valls last year, but bosses are understandably wary following the failure of “Battle” last year.

The card game was introduced in summer 2013, but Mr Landowski has described it as a “flop”.

Wheel of Fortune, however, attracted a new audience of younger gamers, many of whom are women - and casinos are betting that bingo will have a similar effect.

Photo: Moselle Tourism

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