How Bingo Came in From The Cold


Bingo:Bingo!” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by elizaIO

Think of bingo and it’s highly likely that the image that first springs to mind is of a smoky, old fashioned hall packed with women of a certain age whose attention is focused on a caller announcing the numbers as they come up.

Indeed, the UK used to be covered with these kinds of halls with every town of any size having at least one to serve the community. But while the heyday of the bingo hall ran from approximately the 1950s until the early 80s, as we moved closer to the 21st century, the game’s popularity plummeted. Many reasons were put forward for this including increased aspirations and greater social mobility, but the bottom line was that bingo was being consigned to the past. That was until online gaming operators started to see its potential for a renaissance.

Bingo today is big business for the operators in question and has gained a whole new audience who come from a completely different demographic from the old-style hall-dwellers. By offering a varied range of games that can be played for cents or dollars, and with sites offering an exciting environment for playing, today’s bingo fans tend to fall within the 25-35 age bracket and come from a variety of backgrounds.

A key element that today’s operators have retained from the old days is that of sociability. But instead of face to face interaction, players can communicate in chat rooms which are integral parts of the sites and it’s this element, as much as the games themselves, that will secure bingo’s future. This is borne out by the opinion of Gabriel Chaleplis, founder of B2B Gaming Services (Malta) Ltd. When questioned in an interview last year about changes he anticipated in online gambling in general, he said, “We will see more of a personalized experience in real-time, the rise of social gaming, as players will be more apt to share experiences with other players.”  If this proves to be the case, then the number of players is expected to grow as the word is spread.

Ironically, the growing popularity of online bingo has also started to have a very positive effect on the game as it’s played in halls. As long ago as 2016 it was noted that something of a resurgence was occurring and even new halls were being opened, including a 1,000 seater venue in Southampton.

The game has also started to gain something a cult status with many nightclubs now putting on ironic bingo nights where the prizes range from boxes of breakfast cereal to life-size cut-outs of celebrities. The concept of party bingo has also started to be franchised by a number of companies, most notably Bongo’s Bingo, who are taking the concept nationwide in the UK.

So far from being a relic of a bygone age, bingo is certainly back and it’s here to stay. For players, it’s a fun piece of escapism, while for the site owners it’s a valuable addition to their bottom line.

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