Bingo’s Bold Reinvention for the 2020s
Bingo has been one of the most popular and accessible games of chance for the past century or more. Although its history dates back to 16th century Italy, the game as we know it today was born in the carnivals that toured Western Pennsylvania in the 1920s. It was quickly adopted by the Catholic church as a fun way to raise money for good causes, and so has a greater level of social acceptability than other forms of gambling such as playing poker or betting on horse races.
So what does the average bingo player look like? You might picture grandmotherly types in a church hall, or octogenarians in care homes on a Wednesday afternoon. That, however is like saying gamers are mostly male nerds in their late teens with bad complexions. Both stereotypes might have been true in the 1980s, but the world of gaming has changed a lot in 40 years, and bingo is changing with it.
Exploring new markets
The notion that bingo is a game for older people has, to be fair, been harder to shift than other gaming clichés. The setting for bingo games, for example those church halls, senior care homes or, in the UK, bingo halls converted from disused movie theaters, were not conducive to attracting younger audiences. The advent of online gambling, however, created a great opportunity.
Bingo games are available at most online casino sites – see the list at www.legitgamblingsites.com for more information. Bingo companies invested big money in prime time TV advertising campaigns that were clearly aimed at attracting a new and younger demographic to give bingo a try.
For example, one US bingo company adopted music producer MC Blitzy as its brand ambassador – last year, he teamed up with Nicole Scherzinger for a bingo-themed release. Another well known brand’s advertisements Hollywood A-lister Heather Graham dressed up in a fox costume.
The strategy has proved successful. Over the past five years, bingo has been second only to slots in terms of year on year revenue growth. In the 2018-2019 financial year, the last complete year prior to all numbers being skewed by a certain global distraction, online casino revenue increased by 3.9 percent. In the same period, online bingo grew by 12.5 percent.
Join in the fun
Bingo captures the modern ethos of gambling, which is first and foremost to play for fun. If you drill down into aspects like RTP, it will generate inferior returns to blackjack or baccarat, but that is really not the point. Of course everyone likes to win, and hopes to win. But bingo players accept that indulging their hobby will usually incur some cost, just like any other sort of entertainment activity.
If you’ve never played before, it couldn’t be easier. US bingo typically has 75 balls while the UK game has 90, but other than that, the rules are the same – check the numbers off your card as they are drawn and hope to be the first to complete a straight line horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Good luck!