EBU New Online Bridge Arrangements

Dear Club Chairs, Treasurers, Secretaries and Main Contacts

This is an email to all EBU counties and affiliated clubs about new online bridge arrangements. The first part of it is all about BBO Virtual Clubs but the later bits might be of interest to other clubs, so if you are not in the BBO scheme and not interested in joining it, please move on to the later bits of information and don’t just stop reading!

A number of you will be aware that I have been discussing with BBO an improved arrangement for all our Virtual Clubs and I am pleased to tell you that we have reached an agreement that, starting from the beginning of this month (August), our Virtual Clubs will either be charged $4 per table if they charge offline, regardless of how much they charge, or will get 70% of the registration fee if their players pay online in BB$. 

The agreement requires six months notice to change it, so we should all be able to plan a bit ahead without the sudden changes that there have been in the past. If you currently operate on one of the methods above and wish to change to the other, just let us know and tell us when you want the change to take place.

I am aware that the financial reports coming from BBO have been very late and rather than this situation improving, it seems to have become later and later. We are currently still waiting to receive those from June and have been chasing them up to no avail. For those of you being charged monthly this is presumably less hardship, but for those of you waiting to get money from BBO, please be assured that we won’t take UMS money from you until that money has been received.

For those of you who play on Bridge Club Live rather than BBO, they have just announced their f2fclubs scheme. This might well be an alternative that suits a number of clubs, especially if they have a lot of players who are already members of BCL. The link above should give most of the necessary information about this, but I’m sure they will be happy to answer any further queries from clubs and counties directly.

We are also aware that there are quite a number of other new platforms coming fairly soon that will offer several different ways for clubs to run online, but one that is already there and running games for the Welsh Bridge Union, currently for free, is the Dutch bridge provider Stepbridge, which has produced a Club Guide describing what they offer. Clubs are welcome to approach them directly if they wish to investigate this possibility and I would welcome any feedback or information you may get about this.

Please remember that for any club games run in any of these ways, you do need to submit results for UMS in the same way as you would if the games were running face to face, though you can choose whether to use Code 10, 11 or 12 depending on whether or not you want master points or NGS processing.

Finally, on the subject of face-to-face bridge we don’t have any update to our earlier advice about reopening, although it does not seem likely that things will be easing soon since the government has now withdrawn permission for casinos to open. Whatever our clubs do decide going forward, you are strongly advised to complete a detailed Risk Assessment first to ensure that you can comply with government guidelines and satisfy your insurance requirements.

Do get back to me or contact our Club Liaison Officer jonathan@ebu.co.uk if you have questions about any of this.

Yours sincerely,

Gordon Rainsford
Chief Executive Officer
English Bridge Union


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