Bingo’s staggering popularity around the world is a reflection of the game’s ability to build bonds.
Having been played for centuries, bingo has its own little origin story in every corner of the planet – but its heyday in Manchester was arguably during the 1960s.
It was during this decade that bingo halls sprung up everywhere across the city; becoming a social outing that became embedded in residents’ routines.
The evening at the bingo hall was something to look forward to – and a chance to get together with friends and play a game that was not only fun, but accessible to pretty much everyone.
Whilst often regarded as being particularly popular with the middle-aged, bingo actually stuck a chord with all demographics and generations.
The game was played at multiple venues in Manchester – including the Theatre Royal building (the city’s oldest surviving theatre) – during the seventies; and the buzz around bingo at that time may well be something that some Mancunians can still remember.
Physical bingo halls began to dwindle in Manchester after the millennium, with the smoking ban and high taxes both blamed for closures.
But bingo and its community didn’t disappear. They just moved online.
The emergence of internet bingo has kept the community alive – continuing to bring people together whilst attracting an even wider audience in recent years.
There’s offers, bonuses and bingo promotions here for new starters – but regular players also benefit from the likes of loyalty schemes, free slot spins and boosted prizes.
The Centre for Cities think tank reported that Manchester was the fastest-growing city centre in the UK in 2018; and the region has constantly been looking for new ways to cater for large groups of newcomers.
Bingo has been proven to help people integrate; with some venues even flipping the traditional game model on its head to attract a younger, more party-focused crowd.
In any city, bingo can help build communities. It always has. And that looks set to continue right here in Manchester.