When you think about popular British pastimes, you think about bingo. Is there anything more quintessentially British than sitting in a packed out, local hall in Brighton with friends and family on a weekday night that’s full of tension? The answer is no! Bingo has been around since the 40s and 50s, and the demand for the game is still as high today as it has been throughout the decades. These stats from Finder point out that 2.9% of people in the United Kingdom like to indulge in a house or a line, which is around 1.5 to 2 million people. Compared to other games and sports that appear to be more popular, such as football pools and casino games, bingo is 1.2% and 1.4% sought-after, respectively. Why?
The Historical Impact
You can’t ignore the historical impact bingo has had on the UK over the years. Back in the 1960s, when a cultural revolution was occurring, as many as 14 million people were registered players. As a result, there were hundreds of clubs and halls for people to attend, some of which continue to welcome players today. For example, there are Gala, Windmill and Deluxe halls within Brighton alone. While in-person attendance figures have dropped off, there is still 642 bingo premises in the UK, and The Sun has a list of the most palatial and beautiful halls in the union. With the infrastructure readily available, and the game ingrained in British culture, it’s clear that bingo has a hold on the UK that goes back for generations.
However, to say that bingo would have survived without the help of online gambling is misleading. Although the game was incredibly in-demand during the 60s, 70 and 80s, its popularity declined dramatically in the 90s and early 2000s, and the Brighton seaside economy was hit very hard. Even online bingo only had an estimated online audience of 50,000 in 2008. Today, the figure is up to 3 million, with a participation rate of approximately 100 million worldwide. This is in no small part due to the accessibility of bingo online as players can log on to their favourite account and play cheap-yet-rewarding titles from the comfort of their living rooms. Best New Bingo Sites indicates how much of an effect the digital revolution has had on the industry with the vast array of free bonuses and promotions the online sector offers consumers, some of which range from cashback to matching deposits and sign-up bonuses.
Holidays and bingo don’t mix, at least, not on the surface. But if you dig deeper, you’ll find a correlation between halls located throughout the United Kingdom and tourism figures. In short, lots of traditional bingo providers rely on visitors to boost their annual figures, something that was less likely at the start of the millennium, thanks to cheap flights. However, this data from Barclays highlights the growth in popularity of staycations – 31% of tourists spent more time on holiday in the UK in 2019 – while the Evening Standard reports that a staycation was booked once every 11 seconds this summer. If the trend continues, you should expect to see bingo halls in the UK flourish because of increased tourism, and Brighton will be at the top of the list due to its halls and popularity among travellers.
There are plenty of factors, yet it’s impossible to talk about the subject without mentioning the online industry, stay-at-home holidays and the history of bingo in the United Kingdom.