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BlogBingo: The game hall classic generating new business online

Bingo: The game hall classic generating new business online

Bingo halls once defined the high street. If you were to build a Lego set for the typical British town, a bingo hall would be one of the first additions. 

In recent years, however, the industry has faced some stormy weather. By 2014, 75% of bingo halls had closed up shop. They are still disappearing today, with entertainment venues as a whole struggling to remain relevant in 2023. 

It was effectively known as an OAP game, harking back to 1960s Britain, but according to some nothing more than nostalgia remains of the bygone era.

Journalists have released bingo’s obituaries in multiple rounds. But the game has experienced a somewhat sudden, yet perhaps predictable, return to the limelight. 

Online investment in bingo 

In 2004, online bingo halls didn’t exist, with a maximum of 20 operating in the UK. Fast-forward to 2013, and that number had increased to over 350. Now, consumers have near-countless options. 

The increased investment in online bingo has resulted in a wide variety of options, with the best bingo sites available in the UK offering a modern and reinvented experience.    

Companies are increasingly investing in online bingo partly as a result of a younger audience. Online bingo has been stigmatised as a game for an older crowd, but the statistics show that the largest user base is between the ages of 25 and 54. Whilst a significant proportion of the crowd would still be classed as ‘middle-aged’, it is no longer a game just for the 70+. 

Companies are also making the game available across a range of channels, responding to an increased demand and the changing audience. Younger users, after all, tend to prefer online solutions. 

Websites remain the most popular avenue for gamers, but bingo is also being played on Twitter, Twitch, and Discord. This multi-pronged approach from several big-name players in the tech space reflects Bingo’s continuing relevance in the gaming industry. 

The game has also been given a fresh lick of paint by most online casinos, refreshing the look and providing different modes of play. Consumers have choices, including the classic version of the game, but now users can also pick alternative versions.

Much is also being invested in the social side of the game, including live bingo callers and the opportunity to chat with other players. 

Bingo is also riding a wider overall trend of online gambling, which is now worth over £6.44 billion in the United Kingdom. As recently as 2015, that number stood at ‘just’ £1.48 billion. Analysts predict that this number will only increase going forward, with a CAGR of over 10% expected by most experts. Bingo should form a significant part of this growth, particularly considering the extension of both the online and offline markets. 

In the United States, bingo is seeing similar growth. The current market is expected to reach a value of USD 1.1 billion in 2023, and this figure should grow to almost USD 2 billion by 2032 (representing a compound annual growth rate of approximately 7.5%). 

The rise of ‘activity bars’ 

The rise of online bingo goes hand-in-hand with the game’s wider popularity. Without a solid base of fans, the game wouldn’t succeed, no matter how good the virtual experience is. 

And instead of disappearing into obscurity, bingo is carving out a place in a growing niche of the so-called ‘activity bars’. DJ dance hits, neon-coloured entertainment, inventive cocktails, and gourmet chips. Sounds a bit like a popular hipster bar in Zone 1 of London, you’d think. 

But nestled amongst the various entertainment options is bingo, part of the menu of what’s becoming known as ‘competitive socialising’, a new trend that has put the age-old classic right back at the centre of a hospitality revival. 

In these bars, which are becoming increasingly visible in the capital, companies are reimagining games like shuffleboard, bingo, and ping-pong, adding technology, music, and a modern design to draw in new crowds. 

Part of the reason behind the popularity of these venues is the work-from-home trend. With many colleagues never seeing each other in person, these types of venues offer a fun alternative to a naff day out with the office. 

Red Engine, which owns several themed entertainment venues where people can socialise and play games at the same time, have seen record revenue figures as a result. 2023 figures are expected to exceed a record £68m.

Bingo reinvented 

The old-school bingo hall still works, to an extent. But companies have seen that reinventing the classics with the use of technology, leveraging consumer trends, and removing the stigma attached to the game, has given bingo a new lease of life. 

The rise in online bingo and renewed interest in reimagined entertainment venues show that the game still retains its magnetism. The formula still works, it’s just all about presentation and delivering the game in the right setting. 

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