Vice Squad
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Economies of Scale in Reverse: Bingo

In gambling, people tend to prefer larger payouts with lower probabilities of success to similar games with the same expected return but smaller top prizes. This is a major reason why many US states have combined their Lotto games, so they can offer the larger prizes that consumers prefer. When a gambling venture starts to decline, then, it can lose attractiveness in a hurry: the initial decline results in smaller prizes, which then drive away more players, and the process continues.

Vice Squad has been following the difficult times for the Bingo industry in Britain, which is in the midst of a significant decline. Among the culprits for the changing fortunes are the smoking ban and competition from online gaming. Today's Guardian offers a wonderful article and accompanying video based on the final round of the National Bingo Callers of the Year 2007 competition. Both the article and the video are highly recommended for those interested in getting a feel for British Bingo culture.

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