Lately we’ve seen a few approaches to getting new players through the doors of bingo halls, including free meals, free bingo, and live bands. Mecca Bingo in Plassy Road, Catford are going up a notch by hosting a strip night. This one is definitely for the ladies though, as the only bodice to be seen onstage will be the one the drag act will be wearing.
The main act onstage will be the Fantasy Boys a very popular group of male strippers who spend their evenings titillating ladies across the UK. All visitors will be treated to a free box of choccies, as well as the opportunity to drool over topless waiters. It’s going to be a proper night out with special deals on booze for tables of friends, as well as the opportunity to play a few games of bingo if you can tear yourself away from the boys in the lounge.
Charlie Blaize, Membership Manager for the club has said that she wants to alter perceptions of a bingo night out by providing an all round entertainment experience. We think she may have hit the nail on the head with this idea. It is quite likely that a group of female friends would start an evening out with a game of bingo (once they’ve initially been lured through the doors by the promise of muscles, shiny hair, and teeth), before going on clubbing. And, more importantly, once they’ve been inside the bingo they are more likely to come back.
If she was to put on a night for the ‘lads’, she might get them through the doors to watch a few young ladies taking their clothes off, however would they be as likely as the girls to return to the club again for a game of bingo? The traditional demographic of bingo halls genderwise would indicate not.
One of the big problems facing bingo currently is the ‘blue rinse’ image, and if Ms Blaize can get the younger ladies through the door with the use if strippers then she’s taking a step in the right direction.
However, that’s not the only problem. With a lot of people cash-strapped at the moment they are reluctant to spend what money they do have unless they feel that they are really getting their money’s worth. This may be why casinos do not rely solely on action at the tables to bring the punters in, but regular entertainment, as well as good food, a lead that bingo halls might do well to follow.
If bingo halls are to recover, and thrive, they do perhaps need to take a more rounded approach to keeping their customers happy. In this sense Ms Blaize may be close to getting it right. We do hope the night is a success, so if you manage to make it on 14th December 2014, please let us know what you thought of the night by leaving a comment below.
By: Gareth Whieldon