Leeds' internet bingo explosion

BINGO used to be seen as a hobby purely for the blue-rinse brigade but these days it's just as likely to be played by trendy young women, a study has found.

Research by 888ladies.com claims almost 31,000 women are playing online bingo every week in Yorkshire and they're pocketing an incredible 18m a year in the process.

They're following hot on the heels of celebrity bingo babes like Denise Van Outen, Catherine Zeta Jones and Jade Jagger, who are all said to relish a game.

And many Leeds ladies confessed logging on to play bingo more times each week than they go to the gym (22 per cent) or have sex (12 per cent).

The survey also found nearly one in five Leeds women were ditching Saturday shopping sprees in favour of searching for a call of "house".

Katie Eborall, 24 and from Kirkstall, Leeds, said: "I discovered online bingo six months ago and I play at least three times a week now, as do lots of my girl mates. We like to have a good gossip in the chat rooms while we are playing.

"I've even been lucky enough to win a couple of times and the money has come in handy for little luxuries I might not otherwise have been able to afford – the last thing I bought was a pair of shoes I'd had my eyes on for while."

888ladies.com has dubbed the new generation of bingo players "Blingo" and launched new bingo calls in their honour.

Instead of trusty favourites like "legs 11" and "two fat ladies" online players will have calls with more relevance to the noughties like "Ocean's 11", "88 – need to lose weight" and "number two – Jimmy Choo".

Matt Robinson, vice-president of brand marketing at 888ladies.com, said: "The stereotype of the traditional OAP bingo player is truly dated.

"Today's online players are independent, professional women who enjoy all the fun of the game but on their terms.With today's sites you are as likely to find gaggles of girls getting together for a natter in a bingo chat room as you are down at a Leeds wine bar."