There has never been any doubt that Bingo is still one of the UK’s favourite pastimes but in more recent times has suffered in terms of appealing to a wider and younger audience. Having worked within or close to the industry for over 35 years I remember like most those glory days of the 1980’s and 90’s when admissions were much more easily obtained for club teams than they are at present. Sadly, gone are the days when a new door gift or new pricing structure would guarantee a substantial uplift in footfall. It’s seems that present strategies are more aligned to maximum extraction and less about attendances.
So as this much-loved institution begins its own recovery post Covid how can we change the perception of what a visit to the bingo actually holds? Traditional Bingo now needs a vital reboot if it is to survive in the current climate, very much in the same way as the team behind the James Bond franchise has been brave and stripped away the gadgets and over the top storylines for a more realistic and current hero. Bingo now needs to become more Daniel Craig rather than Roger Moore.
Certainly, the growing presence of more and more online Bingo sites have not helped the smaller clubs deal with the challenges they face. Online Operators offer multiple games combinations, varying stakes & prizes and promotional offers which are cleverly supported via traditional and media marketing tactics. Who would have thought that back in the 1980’s Bingo platforms would sponsor prime time TV slots or programmes and most daily papers would use full house tactics to improve its circulation?
Despite the difficulties faced from both online and other leisure activities the bricks and mortar businesses continue to fight on. The High Street will look very different as we emerge from another lockdown and unfortunately not all clubs will survive.
There is however a huge opportunity to bring Bingo back to the masses and the great British public will want the meet up with family and friends and traditional clubs need to be at the front of the destination queue.
Operators now have the chance to re-visit the player experience and introduce sessions, game formats and structures that are more suited to today’s players. Clubs should not be governed by rigid sessions that run to prescribed times but offer a more flexible 24/7 structure. Bingo should much more than just winning a prize. Why can’t clubs offer more than just Bingo such as live TV, sports events or the opportunity to hold that special party or just meet up with friends? The success of one-off Bingo events aimed at a younger demographic have shown that it’s more about the experience rather than prize money and that 2–3-hour sessions of just Bingo is not the option.
It must now then be the time to promote the social side of visiting a Bingo Club rather than aiming the messaging towards prize money. So, let’s keep the game simple, easy for new players to understand with a simple pricing matrix that puts the visit experience first. Always happy to help (07970 148025) on a consultancy basis should the opportunity arise.