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UK to USA: Will Britain’s Bingo Party Trend Ever Make It Big In America?

Source: Reshot
For many years now, bingo has been experiencing a renaissance. Throughout the 20th century, the game was stuck with a stereotype that it simply wasn’t able to shake. Those who didn’t play thought of bingo as a game for elderly women, a game that took place on weekday nights and finished at around 8pm so everyone could go home and nap. Anyone who did win at these games would probably go home with a coupon or an old notepad if they were lucky, but at least they’d caught up on that week’s gossip while the games were going on.
Now, things couldn’t be any more different. Numerous studies have found that avid bingo players are getting younger with each and every passing year. This is of course due to the introduction of online bingo, which has enabled new generations to take up the historic game without ever having to leave the house. Instead, they can simply find thousands of bingo games on various websites and play to their heart’s content with other bingo fanatics around the world. There are so many to choose from that even sites such as Oddschecker that previously dealt in sports betting are now sharing the best sites, deposit bonuses and welcome packages so players know which sites are the best.

This has led to bingo becoming one of the most successful sectors in the gaming industry with 60 million bingo-playing Americans spending approximately $90 million a week on bingo cards. Worldwide, it is estimated that the bingo business generates $20 billion per year, most of which is garnered from players well under the age of 60. While in the past bingo was regarded as a grandmother’s game, the Which Online Bingo Annual Report revealed that though the dominant age demographic had been 45 – 54 for the past few years, in 2017 both the 25 – 34 and the 25 – 44 groups grew by 20%. In fact, players over the age of 65 represented just 6.4% of online players.
It’s easy to assume then that the older players have stuck with what they know and continue to gather at bingo halls instead of playing online. Although this may very well be true for some bingo players, there are less brick-and-mortar bingo premises than ever. In the UK alone, almost two thirds of the bingo halls have been shut down over the last thirty years, leaving just 583 bingo halls open for the 800,000 weekly remaining players according to the latest reports published by The Gambling Commission. Considering the United Kingdom has always been infatuated with bingo, this is a huge blow to the worldwide bingo industry.
So, while online bingo continued to thrive over the last few decades it seems that the days of getting together with friends to play bingo in real life were slowly coming to an end. That was until some very innovative British lads decided it wasn’t time to let live bingo die.
Around the United Kingdom, there’s a brand new type of bingo that’s attracting huge crowds of young adults from all walks of life. It’s intense, loud, fun, cheeky and although you may not recognise the game in its new form, it really is centered entirely around bingo. These new games are so popular it’s almost impossible to figure out which group came up with the idea first but by far the most popular is Bongo’s Bingo.

Over the last few years, Bongo’s Bingo has swept throughout Great Britain, bringing rave-bingo to the masses. It all began with two friends in Liverpool and can now be found from London to Edinburgh, and even in Ibiza, Australia and Dubai. One of Bongo Bingo’s co-founders who goes by the name Jonny Bongo is often found on the stage, encouraging people to dance on tables, scream and go absolutely mental as 90s hits flood the room.
Meanwhile, his fellow hosts are often dressed in unusual costumes, hurling prizes such as cardboard cut outs of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Coco Pops and stuffed unicorns at winners. Occasionally, even celebrities will join Jonny Bongo on stage, with British bands S Club 7 and B*Witched being just some of the famous faces that have joined in. Basically, it’s a game of bingo that’s gone absolutely mad.
Unfortunately, Bongo’s Bingo hasn’t managed to make it’s way across the Atlantic just yet, but there is a similar company that recently planned dates here in the USA. Self-described as a “new, much more aggressive style of bingo”, Rebel Bingo was concocted one stormy night in a London church hall. Like Bongo’s, Rebel Bingo takes your grandmother’s dabber and swaps it for a glow stick, though it does have a slightly classier air than its competitors. Chatting about your favorite kind of tea is basically impossible as loud music shakes the tables and certain songs are triggered when new numbers are announced, but instead of men in female Halloween costumes, there are often cabaret dancers handing out prizes.

Needless to say, we can’t wait for Rebel Bingo to hit America. However, it’s been quite difficult for the company to get dates over here, especially in California where they say bingo traditionalists have gone out of their way to show how much they dislike this new style. Still, they’ve managed it, and the group is heading to Los Angeles’ Globe Theatre as well as New York City during summer 2018.
Following the success of Bongo’s Bingo, Rebel Bingo and a few other groups that have taken bingo and shoved it into a warehouse rave, even big companies have started running their own versions. Bonker’s Bingo, which launched earlier this year, is slowly building a following and even appeared on ferry trips from the UK to Amsterdam, taking the madness to mainland Europe. As the trend continues to spiral out of control, we’re hoping that American bingo companies will embrace this fresh, new bingo.
After all, bingo started in clubs and in church halls – surely we shouldn’t let it die out and remain solely online. Sure, online bingo is accessible, easy and fun but there’s nothing quite like getting a group of friends together to indulge in a little healthy competition. If that also includes dancing, ridiculous prizes you never knew you wanted and great, cheesy music then we’re all in.
Of course, we’re always interested to know what you think. Would you attend a bingo-rave like those that are getting so popular in the UK? Should bingo remain a quiet affair where people can go to chat as well as play games? Let us know in the comments below.

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