Can Bingo Ever Be as Popular as It Was in the 1960s?
As far as British culture goes, it doesn’t get more quintessentially Blighty than a game of bingo. In the 1960s, after bingo was transformed from a recreational activity into one with monetary rewards, the Liverpool Echo reports that club membership was believed to be around 14 million. A single club said that they had a daily intake of 150,000 players per day in the mid-60s, while there were more than 1,000 halls in the UK. Today, attendance figures have plummeted by 75%, leaving people wondering whether bingo will ever return to its heyday. It is a big ask, yet the numbers suggest the game is in a very healthy place.
Bingo & the Internet
Although the face of bingo might never be the same again, there’s no doubt that the evolving nature of the activity is something that makes it incredibly popular among players old and young. Not only is the activity accessible – anybody can play as long as they are connected to the internet – but the variations are broad and wide-ranging thanks to online providers. Bingo slots from Paddy Power are the best examples as they combine different versions of games to offer a new and engaging user experience to customers. And it’s clearly effective because more than 3 million people play bingo regularly in the UK. If it were classed as a sport, bingo would be the sixth most popular in the United Kingdom, above tennis. To put it into perspective, figures from the National Bingo Game Association say that 8% of the population play regularly.
Watching players queue to get into halls and function rooms might not be how bingo operates any longer, yet it doesn’t mean the effect of the game is not as powerful. It’s just as strong in terms of the impact it has on the economy. Over one year from 2018 to 2019, the activity generated over £1 billion in revenues. The online gross gambling yield from the Gambling Commission says that bingo has a GGY of almost £200 million. Offline, it’s higher – £669 million. It’s one of the top six most popular games in the UK, and it’s gaining popularity across the pond and in Europe and Asia. Considering that British bingo providers already have a foothold in the market, any global increase will only benefit the UK economy. Right now, bingo injects lots of resources back into the grid, which is something that shouldn’t be underestimated.
When you take into account bingo machines, you can see the effect this new type of technology is having on the industry. Reports from the BBC say that bingo machines tripled from the period of 2011 to 2016. Not only that, but they account for some of the biggest revenues in the industry as they take in over £300 million in a year, the fastest-growing source of money for companies.
Yes, the industry will never be the same, not after the introduction of the internet and the National Lottery. But, the strength of the sector is still stable, as highlighted by the effect the game has on the economy and the popularity of bingo machines, both physical and virtual.