Rebel Bingo Sweeping the UK

In postwar Britain bingo became immensely popular and gave birth to a new industry. Industry giants such as Mecca and Gala have made millions, if not billions, of pounds from a simple game with humble origins. The new industry grew until almost every town and hamlet had its own High Street bingo club. Unlike the US where bingo remains the dominion of churches and charitable groups UK bingo developed into a giant industry and most UK bingo companies are publicly traded on major stock exchanges. About a decade ago bingo went online and now there are about 250 internet bingo websites serving the UK market. Although the national smoking ban had a devastating effect on land based bingo clever marketing campaigns have attracted several new players. In the UK the bingo industry has been innovative introducing new games such as 90 ball bingo and other original variations on the traditional game.

Now a whole new generation of bingo players has taken advantage of technology and are using social networking sites to promote their new bingo games. The Underground Rebel Bingo Club in London has taken a highly original approach to bingo. Players are notified about games via. Email with messages like, “The authorities are after us so we have to keep these meetings secret,” and describe bingo as “dangerous and addictive.” The games take place on Friday nights and most participants are in their 20’s shattering the impression that bingo is only for seniors and pensioners. The location of the games is allegedly secret and emails instruct players to keep the games secret. One email states, “If anyone asks, you are not coming to play Rebel Bingo, you are coming to a NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH MEETING. Make sure you are not followed on your way there.”)

Rebel Bingo co founders Freddie Sorensen and James Gordon started playing bingo in a church basement and eventually friends started attending. Co founder Gordin tells the story; “The grannies in the church had a bingo wheel, and a couple of girls started playing with the bingo balls, and it was great fun. We all got involved with. It gradually seemed that the after-party was more popular. People were trying to get into the secret after-party where we would play bingo.” Players pay a Ã

By Anthony Wayne 2009 All rights Reserved.