Let’s admit it guys: Bingo is huge in the USA; however, in the United Kingdom it is a lifestyle and it has been that way for ages. (Not ages, but you know what I mean.) My point is that in the previous years, there has been a decrease, a significant one, in the amount of people that go to bingo halls.
Could this be the end of bingo halls as we know them?
I can’t help but wonder: If this game that is so big in the UK, is starting to lose followers, what could happen in the US?
The reason for this decline is a mixture of several factors: the taxes on bingo companies have increased and the banning of smoking became an active law. However, there is another important factor to consider and that is the fact that bingo halls have become more and more impersonal. In the old days, the numbers popped up on colored balls, but today in most of the bingo halls in the UK, they are generated by a small machine known as an RNG (Random Number Generator). Before there was a warm and cheerful MC, now there’s a machine. And, let’s never forget that bingo is a social game that brings communities together.
In England, last year 17 bingo clubs shut their doors for good. The closures are having a devastating impact in dozens of communities where elderly people rely on the game to provide them with a social lifeline. Most gambling activities are taxed at 15 per cent but despite being a soft gambling option the industry has to pay a tax of 20 per cent.
And let’s not forget that in 2007 the game was hit hard by the smoking ban. Since then it has rallied with a fresh focus on younger players and many bingo clubs have been transformed to create an atmosphere that owes more to pub culture than the traditional “eyes down” approach of the past.
As a result of this decline, The Boost Bingo campaign was launched by the Bingo Association in January of this year. It was created to raise awareness of the excessive tax burden. It received a massive vote of public confidence when 61 per cent of British adults said they feel bingo clubs provide an important local service and bring communities together.
However, the figures keep going down. In a world where men are being replaced by machines, could it be that social games like bingo are about to become extinct? I don’t want to sound negative, but the reality of bingo in the United Kingdom might be the foreshadowing of what’s coming in the near future.
What do you think?