GIBRALTAR, November 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Over a year into the smoking ban in the UK and more than 53 land based bingo halls have closed, bringing the number of clubs still open to about 550. Yes, the credit crunch is partly to blame, but this has certainly not stopped bingo players joining (and spending in) online bingo halls such as Online Bingo.

In fact, since its launch in December 2007 online bingo has gone from strength to strength, with a monthly increase of new players measured in the thousands and a 60% increase in earnings. The up side for the player? The more people in the bingo network, the bigger the prize money. This means that smokers can still legally puff away while winning bingo prize pools that are as large, or even larger, than what they are used to. The move to online play has been so dramatic in fact, that even the large well known land based bingo companies such as Gala Bingo and Mecca Bingo have been operating their own online bingo sites for some time.

Did this come as a surprise to the bingo industry? Not really, because in Scotland the smoking ban has been in effect since March 2006 and all reports showed that it has been an absolute disaster for all the top bingo clubs. Income (which effects prize money) dropped by as much as 50% and many clubs were forced to close their doors.

So what is the result of all this turmoil in the bingo industry, and who is the ultimate winner? That's simple; the bingo players themselves are the ones who benefit. It has forced the offline bingo companies to modernise and it has brought legitimacy to the online environment. It has offered players a choice of where they can play and more importantly it has given everyone the chance to play one of the world's favourite games - BINGO!

Carmen Media owns many of the world's oldest and most respected online gaming sites including The Gaming Club Online Casino (founded 1995), Jackpot City Online Casino, River Belle Online Casino (founded 1997) and Lucky Nugget Online Casino, as well as Cool Hand Poker

Carmen Media products and online gaming brands are promoted through the industry leading gaming affiliate program ReferBack, thereby affording its partners opportunities to market English, French, Italian, German and Spanish products. online bingo, is operated by Virtue Fusion, Alderney - the world's biggest online bingo software provider

Contact: Bronson Harrington Email: Telephone: +27-21-528-9071 Justin Atkins Email: Telephone: +27-21-528-9338

Contact: Bronson Harrington, Email:, Telephone: +27-21-528-9071; Justin Atkins, Email:, Telephone: +27-21-528-9338