How would you fancy a bingo night out on the town? Enter, Bongo’s Bingo in Liverpool. The event brings together a good night of drinking, dancing, raving and bingo. Gone are the days of stuffy old bingo halls that your aunt and her friends would go to. Think dance-offs in between quickfire bingo rounds; cash prizes and confetti cannons; booze to spend your winnings on too. You could say that bingo has received quite a millennial makeover.
What is Bongo’s Bingo?
A typical night at Bongo’s Bingo would play out something like this. The crowds then find seats to participate in quick-fire rounds of bingo. Mind you, there are £1,000 cash prizes up for grabs too (alongside other unusual ones like a giant pink fluffy unicorn, bottles of vodka and a cardboard cutout of Philip Schofield).
The rest of the night is interspersed with dance-offs. Drag queens firing confetti cannons, emcees throwing glow sticks and Coco Pops cereal into the crowds and dancers stripping to their underwear before changing into an inflatable chicken suit aren’t out of place either.
This event was started by DJ Jonny Bongo, a 31-year-old from Belfast and his friend Joshua Burke, also 31, in 2015. Burke taps into the growing demand for novelty nights out. He has tried various events before stumbling upon this winning formula. Today, 800-strong crowds show up for each event. Tickets for a Bongo’s Bingo event sells out in minutes. The record is in fact, two minutes for tickets to a special edition of the event featuring the Vengaboys.
According to recent market research, younger adults now prefer to spend money on experiences and occasions over “stuff” like cars, TVs and watches. These experiences have a lot to do with “social media”. Besides the night’s wacky stage antics, Bongo’s Bingo also hires reality TV stars and serves drinks topped sparklers. There are photo opportunities galore. Indeed, you’ll see attendees’ clutching to their devices and uploading photos of the event all over their social media feeds. Word of the event spreads almost solely through social media.
Bingo Raves Sweeping The Nation
And boy is Bongo’s Bingo successful. Burke estimates that the event will make £6m to £7m in revenues in 2018. The duo is also expanding its footprint beyond Liverpool, soon launching in Cardiff and Paris. Tour plans to Australia and Dubai are also underway. A similar event by the brand Rebel Bingo is also seeing great success. Since its launch in 2009, Rebel’s Bingo has held events in New York, Ibiza and Las Vegas.
The unique proposition has also caught the eye of Rank, the FTSE 250-listed owner of the Mecca bingo chain. Rank has launched Bonkers Bingo nights, advertised as “a late-night party overflowing with cocktails & beers, stuffed to the brim with rubbish prizes and crammed wall-to-wall with tasty grub”. Not only that, the company will soon launch weekend bingo cruises with P&O, the ferry company, between Hull and the Dutch cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.”
Riding The Trend Of Decreased Drinking And Widespread Bingo
Bingo club nights has taken off at a time when less young adults are heading out; there has been a 5% fall in the number of nightclubs in Britain since 2012. The number of non-food pubs and bars has also declined steadily for 12 consecutive quarters. People are drinking less and hanging out at home more.
In parallel, bingo has picked up its pace. The game has slowly dropped its image as an old folk’s game and instead, broadened its audience quite significantly. The regular clientele has grown much younger—over a third of online bingo players actually fall within the 25-34 age bracket. The simple game of bingo has really managed to entice us all.