If you thought bingo was more or less dead and buried – played only by old ladies in smoky clubs in days gone by, then think again… yes, really! Today’s bingo “dabbers” are a completely new breed, they’re young and they’re sometimes playing with a Jägerbomb to hand – but playing nonetheless!
Forget, too, the image you may have fixed in your mind of the old bingo caller stationed at the front of a large room which is in complete silence, save for the bingo caller’s voice and the moment when one of the players shouts “House” or “Bingo”; things are very different in the smartphone era.
New age bingo for the smartphone generation is perhaps best epitomised by Rebel Bingo, the pop-up bingo club that turns the traditional image of a bingo night on its head. Rebel Bingo is all about bingo, but it’s about playing the game loud and mixing in a lot of dancing and drinking at the same time. You really have to experience it for yourself to see how far removed it is from the traditional bingo hall that your Mum or Granny might have gone to.
Rebel Bingo runs its increasingly popular bingo nights all around the world and often has dates in London. There are a couple of events coming up in February and March, so have a look at the website to find details of the upcoming London Rebel Bingo nights. Most people go dressed for a night’s clubbing and treat the whole thing as a club night. But be warned: this is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
When you first walk through the door, you’re presented with a card and a dabber to mark it with. There’s then music and more of a traditional club atmosphere for quite a while before the games begin – thus ensuring that half the participants are in “high spirits”, shall we say.
On stage, dancers start calling the numbers and when someone has won, they dash up onto the stage to the MC who checks their numbers. Half the time, the rapidity with which the numbers are called combined with the drinks means someone has their numbers wrong and is declared a “loser” on the big screen to ironic boos from the audience. If you have the numbers right, you get the opposite – a “winner” sign, cue smoke and music, cheers and applause along with a suitably ironic prize (think cuddly toy etc., though some nights do have genuinely big cash prizes, so check out which type of night it is before you go). Other past prizes have included roller skates, a mirror ball and 100 bottles of cider!
— Albert Hall (@Alberthallmcr) February 8, 2017
So where does all this interest in bingo come from? A few years ago, most people in their twenties might not even have heard of the game, yet alone contemplated playing it. Today, it’s a game that draws people of all ages and has led to the renaissance of bingo nights via groups like Rebel Bingo. It’s likely that the main reason for a renewed interest in bingo among young people is the massive availability of online bingo games that can be played anytime, anywhere. Online bingo providers not only make playing bingo really convenient but also great value entertainment that appeals to more age groups than your traditional bingo of the past. When you first join a site such as Sun Bingo you get a welcome bonus amount of money to play with and the potential cash prizes can be quite impressive. Playing bingo whenever you’ve got a few minutes to spare has become something of a no-brainer and friendly competition amongst players is encouraged through bingo chat rooms.
Rebel Bingo’s not the only company that’s piggybacking on the success of online bingo sites. An alternative offering comes from Bongo’s Bingo, which also runs events across the UK in cities such as Birmingham, London, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow. It’s a similar deal to Rebel Bingo – a bingo party in a club-like atmosphere. Expect naughty bingo calls and scantily-clad callers making them. Tickets for Bongo’s Bingo events are released each month, but they get snapped up fast, so it’s best to join the email mailing list or follow them on their social media sites for updates.