Bingo is perhaps not what it once was. In its heyday, every major town across the U.K. had a vibrant bingo hall, a social hub where people of all ages could come together for a great social activity. In the last couple of decades of the 20th Century, the popularity of these physical bingo halls began to decline, and many were abandoned.
Today, though, bingo is experiencing a huge renaissance. It is now almost as popular as it ever was. There are various reasons for this, but undoubtedly one of the biggest is the rise of online bingo. That, in turn, has also led, to some extent, to the revival of physical bingo halls as well.
Let’s look at a few reasons bingo is becoming popular again.
One of the main reasons, broadly speaking, that bingo is becoming popular again is that the game is simply cultivating a wider audience. One bingo site took demographics of the people playing their games and shared some very interesting findings. Whereas the average player, several years ago, was 58, that number has fallen to 53 now. Bingo, once perceived as the haunt of the elderly, is now open to a wider age group.
A large part of the reason for this has been the enormously popular drag bingo. This began in the United States as a way to support charities, but now is simply a mainstay of not only bingo halls but pubs and bars as well.
Drag bingo is just as it sounds: the night is hosted by a drag queen, who reads the numbers and entertains the players. This ‘trendy’ association has led many who may not otherwise have considered it to come and play bingo.
So, undoubtedly this shift in perception is one of the reasons bingo is becoming popular again.
For my money, it’s hard to deny that there has been a bigger influencing factor in the re-emerging popularity of bingo than the advent of online bingo. Online bingo has made the game available to anyone with an online device—no need to go to a bingo hall anymore, but you can enjoy the game from anywhere.
Laws passed in 2014 made betting on the game much more feasible, as taxes on earnings were reduced. This meant that online bingo games could increase their prizes, attracting more players. Since then, bingo has exploded in popularity through a huge increase in new bingo companies; in 2014 alone, statistics showed that the number of people playing online bingo increased by 22% and continued to rise thereafter.
Online bingo meant that the game was no longer a social event, a thing you would do in the evening after work. Now, anyone could play bingo anywhere. Whether on the commute to work, or at any point during a day home.
Its hard to overstate the influence of online bingo in the revival of the game’s popularity.
Number of apps
Leading on from the wider point about the existence of online bingo, another thing that has driven the popularity of the game is the sheer number of ways to play. At the moment, there are well over 200 registered and verified online bingo sites and apps to play in the U.K.
Whenever there is this level of competition in the market, consumers benefit. Beyond that, the very fact that there is demand for anything like this number of bingo apps shows just how popular it is becoming again.
Whereas bingo in the past was generally going to be fairly similar across the board, online games need to find ways to distinguish themselves from one another. This means all sorts of things, from aesthetics and beautiful artwork to higher promotional offers and prize pools.
Ultimately, variety drives enthusiasm for these kinds of things. Online gambling is a favourite pastime of this country, and so having a wider variety of ways to play means that there is going to be something to suit everyone’s needs.
All this said, though, the truth is that the social aspect of playing bingo at a physical bingo hall has also been a huge factor in driving up the popularity again. As I said, people are simply looking for more and varied ways to socialise with their friends, and whereas bingo was once thought of as the activity of the elderly, the switch to online bingo has in turn made physical bingo more popular again.
Bingo is not like other forms of gambling, in that many of them lack a real social element beyond simply being around other people. For many, while the chance to win cash is obviously always a bonus, the act of playing bingo is just an activity to do with their friends.
Even today, there are still around 350 active bingo halls in the U.K. they are great social hubs for bringing people together, and more and more people have come to recognise this. People no longer worry about the perceptions that might be cast on a younger person playing bingo.
So, this represents a major shift in perspective, and is the reason that many younger people are playing it now where they were not in the past. The social element of the game is one of the main reasons it has always been so popular, but it is true that in the past, that popularity was limited to certain demographics. The site I mentioned earlier, for example, found that whereas in the past over 90% of their players were female, now that figure is down to only 70%
the simple answer, then, is that more and more people have come to appreciate how much fun bingo is. It’s not even just a means of winning money or playing a fun game, it’s a great way to catch up with friends over some excitement. This shift in perspective, this realisation, along with the quality and quantity of online bingo sites, is the main reason the game is becoming more and more popular today.