A fascinating article recently appeared in the esteemed Washington Post newspaper about the fall in popularity of Maryland's commercial bingo halls.
You can read it here.
Hit by competition from nearby casinos and an elderly bingo-playing demographic that is dying out, the article painted a bleak picture for Maryland's bingo halls.
Bingo business is down by 25 per cent year-on-year in some halls in the state, which suggests they are far from sustainable in the long-term.
When, and it is only a matter of time, online bingo becomes legal in America those same halls will also be hit by bingo players choosing the comfort of their own home rather than a drafty bingo hall.
That said, I think it is too early to predict the death of the iconic bingo hall in the States or over here in the UK. Closer to home, Gala and Mecca still operate profitable offline operations and our bingo halls section on this site remains one of the most visited areas. There is a still sizeable demand for offline bingo it seems. It's hard to argue, however, that the wind isn't blowing in the direction of online bingo and away from offline bingo, especially as online bingo now has mobile firmly in its sights.
Will bingo halls disappear over the next 10 years? No, I don't think so. Not even 25 years. People still want to meet up in person and natter while having a flutter. One thing you can say for certain, though. The glory days of bingo halls aren't coming back.
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