This is an interesting question, because Bingo has been through a fair number of changes. This would be expected, since it first began back in 16th century Italy before spreading to the rest of Europe and the world.
In recent years, Bingo’s popularity has been increasing once again, and this proliferation has occurred in the United Kingdom and elsewhere for a variety of reasons. Here we take a look at some of those new developments, which have transpired over the last 10 years or so, as well as possible future developments.
Something that has helped popularise the game, especially with the younger audience, has been the growth of online and mobile bingo, but this is not the sole cause of the game’s increasing popularity. Bingo halls are going through something of a resurgence, too. Indeed, after a period of decline, spending in UK bingo halls is again increasing and is predicted to surpass £700 million by 2019.
Technology is helping here too, as the halls both take advantage of things like cheaper electronic tablets (that fill in numbers for you) and also roll out big LCD screens. Bingo halls have also been implementing a lot of new ‘gimmicks’ (for want of a better word) in a bid to further the game’s appeal and shake off old stereotypes.
One of the new developments is “Rock and Roll Bingo”, also known as “Musical Bingo”. It was first introduced to the United Kingdom (and the USA) some ten years ago and has steadily grown in popularity. It involves playing songs instead of calling out numbers. As such, the game removes the “bingo lingo” that refers to “Two Fat Ladies” (the number 88) or other familiar bingo terms in a stroke that might put off some newcomers to the game, and it also eliminates the various superstitions that cover many lucky and unlucky numbers. It is argued that such developments give the game a new twist, and according to Rock and Roll Bingo, this version of the game is allegedly now the “fastest growing quiz game in the UK”, used by thousands of pubs, charities, PTA’s and even corporate clients. It was also recently featured on the hit Channel 4 TV show “Come Dine with Me”. Another craze has been the birth of so-called ‘Rebel Bingo’ – essentially combining the game with loud music (think 1990s R&B and hip-hop), together with a new form of “bingo lingo”, where the calling of the numbers is a bit more, err… “edgy”. It is still quite niche, but it is bringing in a new audience and has now expanded its reach from its humble origins in South London to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Ibiza, Las Vegas, and even New York.
The game is expected to keep gaining popularity online and taking advantage of new technology, such as Virtual Reality. VR and AR (Augmented Reality) are still in their infancy, but they
represent a fast-developing sector; the market is expected to grow from having been worth 1.37 billion US dollars two years ago to over 30 billion by 2022. Bingo will be looking to take a piece of that market, and there is no reason it shouldn’t. Those players back in the 1500s did not know what they were starting!