Why Bingo Traditionally Thrives In The UK

Bingo is a lottery or merely a game of chances whereby players mark numbers on a ticket while the numbers are selected randomly by a caller.
Britain has had a long love affair with bingo, stretching back much further than when it was officially legalised as a gambling act in 1960. In the century prior to that pivotal moment bingo was enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country at charitable fund raising events.

Towards the end of the millennium however bingo’s power to draw in the crowds was on the wane. Bingo halls were closing on a weekly basis and the number of halls dropped from the thousands to just under 400 in 2014.

That was until internet bingo sites began to pop up and the game underwent a facelift that ultimately revived the game, boosting player numbers to 3.5 million last year after an all-time low of 1.5 million in the mid-2000s.


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.  

The social aspect of bingo

But it’s all very well attracting new players with the promise of great time. The real question is how to keep hold of them and today’s bingo sites seem to have that covered too. One of the most important features of the old bingo halls was the sociable aspect of the games. It gave players the chance to meet up with friends in a fun environment where they could enjoy a chat, have a drink or two and, with any luck, go home with more money than they’d come out with.

So today’s leading sites also put a lot of effort in building up communities of players to make them feel like they “belong” on the particular site. They achieve this by providing chat rooms where players can message each other on any subject they want, not necessarily, bingo-related.  The very fact that the younger generation who are the lifeblood of online bingo sites are so used to communicating via social media means that this is a very popular feature indeed.

Ironically, the exponential growth of the online game has also had a knock-on effect on the traditional version. All round the country there are reports of increasing player numbers with younger people playing than ever before. It’s also becoming a big favourite in nightclubs and student unions where the game is being re-invented to include wacky prizes, confetti cannons celebrating wins and much more besides.

The rise and rise of online bingo

More and more online bingo sites started to pop up with fun branding and a huge choice of different games to play, whether for a few pennies each time or more serious ones with bigger prizes on offer. The whole tone and style of bingo sites was a million miles away from the old image of bingo, and the age profile of the new players reflected this with the core demographic being aged between 24 and 35 and even including a few men who enjoyed playing too.

The secret behind the success of the very best sites has always been that they’re fun places to spend time with always something different going on and generous bonuses for players old and new.
As well as the games themselves, online bingo sites have also managed very successfully to encapsulate the social aspect of traditional bingo with the inclusion of chat rooms and forums as well as ample opportunities to share and comment on social media.

The Future Of Bingo

The UK is leading the way when it comes to bingo with their thriving online and mobile market. Other countries around the globe are slowly taking notice of what is happening in the British Isles and attempting to mimic their success.

In Ghana, it would be beneficial for the government to follow the regulations and rules that the British government have set out on their gambling industry. In order to play online, gamers need to feel safe and protected by the law.

In other countries with better and more stringent governance, online bingo will continue to grow, slowly eroding away the popularity of land-based bingo halls. This might result in physical bingo events being restricted to more novelty affairs like Drag Bingo.

One thing is for certain though and that’s that bingo shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. After a couple of fallow years at the turn of the millennium, the game has returned with a vengeance and looks set to remain a fans favourite for decades to come.

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