I was intrigued by a story on the wires today about a special Bingo night called the The Underground Rebel Bingo Club. The weekly event takes place in The Mission Room in Exmouth Market in Finsbury, London. The event is a mix of cabaret and Bingo that’s fast attracting the sort of audience that traditional retail Bingo would kill for.
In fact, retail may want to sit up and take note of what the organisers of this event have to say, and it’s that, well, normal Bingo is too serious. I kind of know where they’re coming from, Bingo today in the big halls is rigid, moribund, stuck-in-a-rut. There are those who will appreciate these traits (self included), but for many young people, it can be a bit of a turn-off.
I really like what’s going on here, the contrived back history for the club, the glamour, the online networking, the entertainment and of course the chance to win, it really sounds like a great night out. Now, I’m for one second saying retail Bingo should drop everything and hire magicians and comedians and turn the evening into a party, because god knows if that did happen, there’d be a riot. But maybe there’s something in this that could be a real draw to that elusive new audience the retail game needs.
Maybe they could organise something like a monthly taster night with a similar sort of theme and prizes. The regulars would hate it of course and probably not turn up, but as a means of getting people used to the idea of coming through the door that previously wouldn’t, it could be a real winner. I think it would need to be advertised different too, Bingo workers could be sent out to leaflet the nightclubs or build a buzz on facebook and the like. It could be done with a small bit of thought and will from the big halls to try something new.
It’s easy for me to say, I know, but I can’t help feel that The Underground Rebel Bingo Club holds the seeds for a completely new Bingo experience that breaks the bonds of the traditional hall. For years in the states, and to a lesser degree over here, cabaret Bingo has been a popular fund raiser and party experience in the LGBT scene. Both of these events show that Bingo could benefit from glamming itself up a bit, but don’t hold your breath on this one. In the meantime, if I’m ever down Finsbury way, book me a table, and hopefully it won’t be that of regular who sits opposite and scowls at me the whole time.