The Rise of Bingo Nights: Is Bricks and Mortar Bingo making a return?

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Technology is a strange beast, and one that continues to defy logic and provide a series of contradictions. While innovation continues to drive aggressive advancement and progression, for example, there is a rising demand for recreated retro-products that were prominent during our childhood. This has been embodied recently by the remake of the classic Spectrum keyboard, which is being reinvented for Android and iOS devices.

The same principle is prominent in the bingo industry, where traditional formats and bricks and mortar gameplay is continuing to reinvent itself for the modern age. Just as the UK’s first dedicated bingo hall in nine years is set to open in Southampton next January, so too the traditional interpretation of the game is being reinvigorated with additional glitz and glamour for the modern age. The primary motivation for this is the need to compete with the wide range of variations available online, which in turn will create a host of enjoyable, bingo-themed nights out on the town.

One of the most interesting evocations is an arts project in the north of England, which has been designed to explore the traditions of Preston and reinvent these for 2015. The Oasis Social Club will make its second visit to Preston soon, with a bingo day being hosted at various venues throughout the city. The overall event, which will feature bingo, music, and a raffle, reinforces the notion of the game as a stellar evening of entertainment. This follows on from other attempts to popularise the traditional game, including the rise of themed bingo nights.

Themed Bingo Nights and their impact in the UK

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Prominent in London and the north of England (which remains the spiritual home of bingo), Rebel Bingo has emerged as a much-loved variation of the game. Invented almost by accident in the basement of a Church Hall in London, it is a glitzy, black-tie elevates the typical bingo night out onto an entirely new and decidedly ironic level.

The most popular modern variation is musical bingo, particularly the rock and roll and pop formats. In these innovative versions, bingo balls with printed numbers are replaced with songs and track lists, while players are forced to mark of the tunes as they are revealed. The remaining elements of bingo gameplay are unchanged, although these slight modifications appeal to a far broader demographic of players.