BingoDaily has today learned that Mecca Bingo, owned by the Rank Group PLC (LON: RNK) is to withdraw its popular Play Points reward scheme on August the 1st.
In an email seen by BingoDaily, websites advertising Mecca Bingo are being told to remove all content referring to the Mecca Play Points rewards by the end of the month.
The email read:
“As of August 1st 2020, Mecca Play Points will be removed from our customer offering to both new and existing players.
Please ensure that any mention of the Mecca Play Points scheme is removed from any published content or Mecca brand advertising before the start of August.”
Mecca Play Points is a rewards scheme that awards points for playing which can be redeemed for prizes. Every time bingo tickets are bought, points are earned. There are five points levels, and the more points you get, the better your rewards will be.
The last prizes to be given out were:
Sony Extra Bass MDR Headphones, Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker, Amazon Fire HD 10 Wi-Fi,16GB and an iPad 32GB – WiFi – Space Grey
At this stage, it is not known why the play points program is being stopped so abruptly. No explanation was offered, and at the time of writing, Mecca Bingo has not replied to BingoDaily's request for further information.
One possible reason could be tied to the recent clampdown by the UKGC, who regulates all gambling activities in the UK and has shone the regulatory spotlight on how gambling operators conduct themselves with their customers in respect of responsible gambling.
In April, when trying to address the risks of COVID-19 on gambling activity, the UKGC stated:
“Reward programmes will also be required to have full audit trails detailing decision making with specified senior oversight and accountability.”
Whether the cancellation is a direct response to UKGC interest or merely a revamp/new loyalty scheme launch, it is not clear. However, it does look very likely that the rewards programme's incentivised nature could be construed as encouraging further gambling. This is something that the UKGC is very keen on clamping down upon.
As to the points themselves, it is also unclear what is going to happen to the points already accrued. The email stated:
“Existing players who have already accrued Play Points will be contacted directly regarding the change.”
Should this be a regulatory decision, we can expect other rewards and loyalty schemes under further scrutiny with many either changing or disappearing altogether.