London is experiencing a bingo boom and savvy mainstream brands are working to capture a slice of the market, thinking up innovative ways to make the game more exciting. But what caused this bingo trend? And why do Londoners love it? 

The bingo industry is on the rise and London is helping stoke the fires. Over the last decade bingo has been transformed from the fairly mundane game your grandparents used to play, to an all-singing, all-dancing entertainment spectacle.

From online bingo sites to live shows, bingo has become the hottest ticket in town and London now plays host to some of the industry’s biggest players. Whether you’re an industry insider, a seasoned player or a curious newbie, London is the place to be for all things bingo in 2016.

By far the biggest reason for bingo’s recent change of fortune is the internet. Since the iGaming industry boomed in the early noughties, the way players can ante-up has changed dramatically. In fact, according to the UK Gambling Commission, online bingo participation increased by 22% in 2014 and, today, the industry generates £600 million in the UK alone (the iGaming industry as a whole is worth almost £30 billion).

Online Bingo Operators Impressing London’s Financial Experts

Naturally, given the increase in popularity, many major bingo operators are now making an impact on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Thanks to a combination of affordable games and TV advertising campaigns, 32Red Bingo was named as one of the biggest risers on AIM in the last 12 months. Breaking down the stats, 32Red Bingo saw its net revenue increase by 39% year-on-year between April 2015 and April 2016.

Online bingo operators are impressing London's financial experts

Online bingo operators are impressing London’s financial experts

Aside from offering an array of bingo games, 32Red has upped its media profile with a series of TV adverts. In fact, the latest product captures that ‘winning’ feeling and captures the zeitgeist that’s helped make bingo popular with the masses.

For example, Sun Bingo has traded off of its newspaper parent to connect with the masses and offer an array of bingo variants as well as slots such as Double Bubble and Peggle which boast jackpots worth £12,500-plus. Similarly, Virgin Games, which is an offshoot of Richard Branson’s Virgin brand, now offers games such as Mr Winner’s Wardrobe (the winner looks suspiciously like Mr Branson) to mainstream audiences.

Essentially, what you can see from this product is that bingo is now a mainstream activity and, because of that, mainstream brands are working to capture a slice of the market.

A Live Bingo Experience with a Difference

Trading off of online bingo’s rise are live entertainment companies like Rebel Bingo. Starting out in London, Rebel Bingo has turned the game of balls and numbers into a complete entertainment experience. Looking more like an interactive show than a typical game of bingo, Rebel Bingo’s was founded by Miles Baron and started out offering events in an old church in Farringdon.

Trading off of online bingo's rise are live entertainment companies like Rebel Bingo (photo by kenteegardin/Flickr)

Trading off of online bingo’s rise are live entertainment companies like Rebel Bingo (photo by kenteegardin/Flickr)

After tinkering with the format and incorporating music, costumes and theatrical performances, Rebel Bingo shows started to spread across the city and out towards neighbouring locations like Southend-on-Sea. In fact, today, Rebel Bingo events are sell-out events in Camden, New York and beyond and it’s since become the inspiration for a plethora of themed bingo events.

Indeed, scan any list of ‘best things to do in London’ and you’ll now find the glittery Moth Club Bingo in Valette Street, Boozy Bingo at Breakfast Club venues across the city and much more. However, aside from being a hub for the latest movers and shakers in the online and live bingo world, London is now becoming a home for industry insiders. Thanks to the number of bingo innovations and operations taking place in the capital, conference organisers are now pitching up in London.

A Place for Bingo Experts to Talk

Leading the way for bingo executives is the Online Bingo Summit by Bullet Business. Held back in May 2016 at the Royal Garden Hotel in May, the latest event saw more than 150+ senior level gaming experts discuss the continued rise of the bingo industry. From gaming company representatives to media members, the summit was a chance for the world’s biggest bingo players to talk shop and help move the industry forward.

Experts discussed the continued rise of the bingo industry at The Online Bingo Summit (photo by dionhinchclif/Flickr)

Experts discussed the continued rise of the bingo industry at The Online Bingo Summit (photo by dionhinchclif/Flickr)

Essentially, when it comes to driving forces in the bingo industry, London is right there. Although there might be some that still see the capital’s casino scene as one of the most vibrant in Europe, a look through the evidence suggests that there’s a new game in town.

Through a combination of new and exciting options for players and services for industry insiders, London has become a veritable bingo hub. So, if you’re a seasoned player or a recent convert, there’s only one place to listen for the call of the balls at the moment and that’s London.

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