The life and death (and life again) of Bingo halls

innerpalais224042016Do you play live Bingo? One look at the news and you might think that Bingo halls are a dying breed. Shuttered doors, dimmed lights, permanently closed signs. For Bingo fans, the situation is troubling at first glance. It appears as though Bingo halls are closing in record numbers and there’s not much we can do about it — or at least that’s what the news might suggest and have us believe. But it appears there’s more to the story here.

Are Bingo halls really closing? Yes, there aren’t as many Bingo halls today as there were in the 1970s when live Bingo was the go-to activity for gamblers all over the world. But still, we know that tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of people love Bingo. So what’s going on here?

We’re going to find out. Today, we’ll examine the life and death of Bingo halls and how it affects Bingo players all over the world. From Canada to the UK, from the US to Australia, here’s a look at how some Bingo halls are barely surviving while others are absolutely thriving (plus, we look at a few of the dead ones, too).

Bye bye Beacon Bingo in Brighton

Now that’s a mouthful. But people are used to screaming mouthfuls over and over again in Brighton as they scream Bingo and land a big win. But that came to an end just a few months ago as Beacon Bingo Hall shut its doors.

The venue, which had been open since November 1996, was a landmark in Brighton and the go-to destination for lots of Bingo players in the community and in neighboring towns. Still, even with its popularity, money talks. An unsolicited offer came forward from a third party and management decided to sell.

Australian Bingo hall makes way for redevelopment

The thing about Bingo halls is that they tend to be old. And in some towns, they’re located in the outskirts of major cities that have little or no development. Or if there is some development, it’s usually nothing gorgeous. We’re talking a few gas stations, some pizza shops, a kebab shop, maybe a fortune teller or two. Basically, not an area the Queen of England would choose to celebrate her 90th birthday.

But as neighborhoods develop and gentrification takes place, these Bingo halls suddenly find themselves in thriving communities. In many cases, the Bingo halls that were once on land that nobody wanted suddenly find themselves smack down in the middle of a neighborhood that people are clamoring to get into.

And the land they occupy tends to be big. When that’s the case, the developers start barking, smelling a big chunk of change. That’s what’s happening all over the world, including in Australia where The Palais Bingo Hall has closed to make way for new development. The property will be developed into the Palais Arts Centre.

Hamilton loses its famous Bingo hall

In working-class Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (basically the Pittsburgh of Canada), Bingo once thrived once upon a time. Competing with Tiger-Cat football games and local concerts, Bingo was one of the biggest pastimes for residents of Hamilton.

The city once had a thriving Bingo scene, but that changed back in 2014 when Delta Bingo, located in downtown Hamilton, shut its doors. The reason for the closure was that the company that owned the Bingo hall (Bee Eye & Gee Oh) decided to focus on converting its other properties in nearby St. Catharines and Fort Erie into electronic Bingo halls.

Primarily, Delta Bingo served 30 charities through Bingo fundraising means and was a mainstay in the downtown Hamilton scene.

Government can play a role

With Bingo halls closing around the world, is there opportunity for the trend to reverse? Some experts think so—and it all has to do with the government keeping its hands out of everyone’s pockets.

In the UK, government taxes on Bingo hall profits were traditionally 20%. But after years of Bingo hall closures, something had to give. The government slashed taxes on some Bingo halls from 20% to 10%.

It could be argued that the additional income not only helped the Bingo halls stay profitable. But Bingo halls could also use the increased profits to feature bigger prize pool guarantees, more bonus prizes, and pump more cash into marketing that would make their Bingo initiatives appear more attractive.

Bingo Hall Expansion

With all this talk of Bingo hall closures, it’s nice to hear about emerging Bingo halls. In Illinois, a local tribe wants to erect an electronic Bingo hall on land it purchased a few years back. The tribe has the right to operate this type of property, but it’s not clear if the purchased land would be considered tribal land since it was purchased recently.

We’ll be following this story closely. We’re not sure what will happen, but at the end of the day, money talks and the Bingo hall would provide money to both the tribe and the county through a shared revenue agreement.

Online Bingo Thrives

Even with live Bingo halls closing or relocating, it doesn’t mean the end of Bingo. It means the evolution. Online Bingo is quickly becoming increasingly popular among Bingo players. With a convenience factor unlike anything else, big prize pools, and the chance to play for free, sites like 123BingoOnline.com are stepping in to fill the gap left by the closure of Bingo halls around the world.

If you want to get in on the online Bingo game, you can do so from the comforts of home. With just a few pieces of information, we can register you for your free 123BingoOnline.com account in a matter of minutes.

You’ll find that even if you love to play live Bingo, online Bingo won’t necessarily take its place. It’s a different type of experience that will actually fuel your appetite for more live Bingo, as opposed to causing you to choose it over the real deal.