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Buzz Bingo's Bold Move to Acquire Two MERKUR Bingo Clubs 

Buzz Bingo is making waves after revealing it’s in advanced discussions to acquire two of the three MERKUR bingo club sites – Cricklewood North West London and Northampton. The potential acquisition is a significant milestone for Buzz Bingo, the largest land-based bingo operator with over 80 venues, because it wasn’t that long ago that the brand closed a handful of its sites due to rising costs and falling footfall. So this purchase could signal a potential turning point for the company. Let’s take a closer look at the details.

Why MERKUR Bingo and Why Now?

The Buzz Bingo numbers look good; it’s now on a positive growth trajectory. 2023 showed a 5% increase in retail revenue, 31% increase in online revenue, and 14% increase in EBITDA (an alternative measure of financial performance). Its digital business has doubled its market share over the last two years and is expanding 3x faster than the overall market. Not to mention the FOUR WhichBingo awards it won in April 2024. Sounds like the brand had a bumper year and is heading in a great direction. So why the decision to pursue these two particular sites?

These venues “geographically complementary to Buzz’s existing footprint” (read: well-placed for Buzz Bingo’s current locations) and they have a solid fanbase in their respective communities. Combined, the two venues had nearly 500,000 people through their doors in 2023 and admissions have increased by approximately 5% so far this year.

Like Buzz Bingo, MERKUR provides visitors good-value bingo, food, drinks, plus live entertainment. And the winnings speak for themselves – on average a month, the two venues pay out a total of over £1 million. The Cricklewood branch, with its whopping 2,700 capacity, averages more than 3,500 winners per month, plus holds the Guinness World Record for paying out the largest single bingo house prize of all time of £100,000.

There are also signs that the popularity of out-of-home bingo is on the up, especially among the younger demographic. The number of 25–34 year olds playing bingo last year was double what it was in 2018. 

A Brand Ready to Capitalise on Market Trends 

Buzz Bingo is anticipating growth opportunities internationally, having announced a move of its digital business to Gibraltar, matching what many of its competitors have already done.

Buzz Bingo’s Chief Executive, Dominic Mansour says:

“Bingo in the UK is having a renaissance and Buzz Bingo is one of the UK’s leading online bingo brands with the largest retail footprint and is therefore well-placed to capture this growth. 

Following a period of stabilisation for the business, it is now thriving, and we are delighted to be acquiring these two leading bingo clubs following a year of strong performance. With demand for Bingo growing, and our exceptional online performance, Buzz Bingo is positioning the business for accelerated growth, which is the key rationale behind our decision to move our Digital business to Gibraltar.” 

What Does the Future Hold

As Buzz Bingo navigates the complexities of the acquisition process, questions arise regarding the future of the MERKUR Bingo. Will MERKUR continue in the bingo space at all or just retain its high street slots and games offering? Will Cricklewood still open 24/7? One thing remains clear: Buzz Bingo is showing its status as a powerhouse in the bingo industry, not just playing the game, but defining it.

Better change
Esther Barnett Rubin

Author

Esther Rubin With a career spanning TV production to writing taglines for pet food, Esther now finds time to write about online bingo and mobile gaming between school runs, crime documentaries, and spotting clever copy in ad campaigns. She works hard to ensure the bingo community is a fair and safe space that supports happy bingo experiences.

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