You don’t need to be a bingo fan to have noticed that Britain’s bingo-ing mad. It seems that whenever you turn on the telly or get online there’s a ladylike pink or purple-backdropped ad out there espousing the virtues of the nation’s latest favourite online game.
It’s no small thanks to Jackpotjoy, now the UK’s favourite online bingo destination, that a game once seen as fuddy-duddy and dull has undergone a full makeover that’s truly turned bingo’s fortunes around.
When Jackpotjoy arrived on the scene in 2004 its only competition was the old-fashioned world of traditional bingo halls, full to the brim with chain-smoking grannies and comatose bingo callers. There were a handful of other bingo sites out there in the UK, but it was Jackpotjoy’s ad campaigns that really packed a punch, netting the site a whopping 4 million registered UK members.
Part of the site’s success has been in transforming the uptight image of bingo into one that’s bubbly and fun, and one that still appeals to the game’s traditional core players – women. Their targeted ad campaigns, featuring the bubbliest British soap icon of them all, Barbara Windsor, have used a good dose of cheeky humour (and scantily-clad hunks if the one below is anything to by) to emphasise the fun element of the game, as well as its cheap ticket prices, round-the-clock convenience, online community spirit, and hen-night atmosphere.
Bingo’s makeover hasn’t been entirely carried out by those clever marketing men though. Jackpotjoy has changed the game of bingo itself to adapt to the modern player – one who’s tech-savvy, and looking for games that are fast-paced. Shorter bingo variants like Bingo 75 and Speedy Bingo popped up on the site to satisfy younger players’ need for speed.
And the social element of bingo, traditionally the heart and soul of the game, has not only been retained online, it’s been strengthened too. When online bingo made its debut, old-timey fans bemoaned the fact that the only point of playing bingo was to go out, socialise and catch up with friends. Thanks to online chat facilities at sites like Jackpotjoy, players can do that from the comfort of their own homes – in fact, because they’re positively encouraged to chat during games, rather than being shushed and tutted at for doing so in real bingo halls, they can actually chat more in the online environment.
It’s good news for the high street punters too. While good old fashioned bricks and mortar bingo halls may have shut down up and down the country – some blaming online competition, others the smoking ban – it’s left the remaining halls in a stronger stead. Forced to compete with the lower tickets prices, higher prizes, and convenience of the online game, traditional bingo halls have had to return to their roots, and make their venues true hubs of evening entertainment.
So rather than the fag smoke-filled, silent halls of gloom they sadly became, they’re now being tarted up and transformed, offering players far more bang for their buck – from cocktails and slap-up meals to live bands and entertainment into the wee small hours.
So whether you’re playing online or in a traditional bingo hall these days, it seems that the success of the online game has been a win-win for bingo fans – and it’s created plenty of new ones along the way.