Internet bingo poised for significant growth


The successful bidder in the ongoing Cashcade sale negotiations could determine who will lead the online bingo industry into what increasingly looks like a bright future for the game.

This week The Times reported that growing numbers of casino and poker gamblers are looking to bingo as an alternative diversion, with the Internet bingo sector becoming the fastest form of online gambling worth $1.4 billion last year on a global basis. It is forecast to hit $1.7 billion this (2009) year and $2 billion in 2010. The UK accounts for about 20 percent of the market.

Cashcade, the owner of the popular Foxy Bingo and Getminted casino web brands, is therefore a key element, and its auction has sparked wide interest. Foxy Bingo, founded in June 2005, is the No 2 online bingo brand behind Gala.

Independent News & Media has a 20 percent stake in the Cashcade, which is expected to fetch between GBP 70 million and GBP 100 million, with PartyGaming tipped to seal a deal in the face of opposition from 888 Holdings and Paddy Power, the Irish bookmaker. Cashcade recently reported a 91 percent jump in revenues to GBP 33.7 million, with pre-tax profits doubling to GBP 10.9 million.

The Times report says the fear for Gala if PartyGaming wins the bidding for Cashcade is that it might lose its leadership position as the internet gambling giant leverages its scale by cross-selling to its poker, casino and sports betting customers.

A victory for PartyGaming could also be a setback for 888 Holdings, which provides the software for Cashcade's websites and had been tipped as the early frontrunner.

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