Before PlayStation and desktop computers, there was bingo. In the 1960s, the game’s health was spectacular as there were 14 million players in England, Scotland and Wales, and 150,000 of them visited their local hall every day. The numbers were so great that the UK’s favourite sport, football, couldn’t keep up. Matchday fixtures couldn’t rival the droves of people who played bingo. Then, the attendances dropped to the point where a British institution was almost beyond repair. Thankfully, the game now has a lucrative and popular lane in the gaming world, even though the people who attend bingo halls are few and far between. So, how is it thriving?
There’s no doubt the internet has been the driving factor behind the rise in bingo’s popularity in the 2010s. The gross gambling yield is nearing £1 billion, and the digital revolution had a big role to play in its rise. As the UK Gambling Commission highlights, 40% of the gambling industry’s remote GGY comes through mobile platforms. People love to play digitally as it removes the obstacles. Bingo is no different as there’s no need to get ready, travel or overspend on food and drinks when you’re in the comfort of your living room. Plus, the rewards and variety of games are extensive, resulting in mobile tech enhancing the user experience with smoother gameplay on-the-go. The jackpot bingo games here highlight all of these features perfectly. Thanks to bigger promos, less hassle and comprehensive upgrades and releases from the online sector, bingo appealed to a new audience and plugged a hole left from the 90s.
The people who play bingo are changing. According to data here, they are most likely to be between the ages of twenty-four and thirty-five. Support among millennials is at its peak, with around 20% of all online bingo players from this generation. Previously, it was easy to assume that only older generations played the game because they grew up with it. Yet, these stats clearly indicate there is an uptake with younger demographics. Men are also getting in on the action – 38% of players are male. Women might make up the biggest fanbase, but men are no slouches. Thanks to the internet and rebranding tactics, bingo positions itself as an inclusive game for everyone.
Tradition Never Dies
However, to say that bingo is popular only due to online gaming and betting isn’t the case. For example, there are three-hundred-and-fifty halls still in the UK in 2020. On top of that, entrepreneurs are starting to modernise the face-to-face version, as the video here shows. Dabbers not only puts on bingo games, but it mixes it with arts and crafts, food, and other exciting activities. Although the internet has a hold on the game and looks set to for a long while, it’s not hard to argue that contemporary companies are giving in-person bingo a new dimension that adds to its appeal.
Attendances are down from bingo’s peak, but it’s bouncing back online where remote play is growing daily. And while bingo halls are frequented less, they still exist and some businesses are making them cool again. Hopefully, this will lead to the Holy Grail – online and offline popularity.