Still No Bingo for Redditch, but Things are Looking Up - The Redditch Standard

Still No Bingo for Redditch, but Things are Looking Up

Redditch Editorial 2nd Nov, 2023 Updated: 3rd Nov, 2023   0

Once buzzing with the activity of a busy town centre, what was formerly the beloved Shipleys Bingo Hall has now been a StorMe Self Storage facility for several years. With many residents seeing it as the death knell of the high street, there is little sign Bingo will make a comeback in Redditch in the near future.

Yet there is still hope on the horizon, with things looking up for bingo in the last twelve months. The reports of Bingo’s death were perhaps greatly exaggerated.

Why Bingo is More Than Just Bingo 

For veterans of the game, it’s a truth that’s been known for ages: bingo is more than just a game. For many Redditch residents, it was a cornerstone of the community. Its disappearance was seen as part of the greater trend of the centre becoming a ghost town, with nothing left for residents.

For many pensioners local to Redditch and even beyond, for example, Shipleys Bingo Hall was something to do, a fun activity to get them out of the house. It wasn’t necessarily always about the game, but the overall experience of fun and being together with friends and family.

However, in 2020, it was gone. And this has happened in many towns and cities all over Britain. With the disappearance of bingo halls, we’ve also seen increasing levels of isolation, people staying indoors with not many inexpensive options in the midst of a cost of living crisis, and perhaps more importantly, missing out on getting that crucial social contact that’s so important for our mental health.

Bingo is Coming Back 

But it’s not all grim news. Redditch may not have its bingo back just yet, but the game is slowly making a resurgence. There’s not just been an increase in the demand for traditional bingo halls, but many businesses are reinventing them for the modern age.

Bingo’s comeback is perhaps best reflected in its popularity amongst online gamblers, representing a rapidly growing market sector. While there is still no in-person bingo for Redditch residents, some of the best bingo sites in the UK are just a few clicks away.

Online bingo has perhaps also given a new lease of life to the game in ‘real life’. New players are starting to see just how much fun bingo can be in a virtual setting, and many decide to try it in a local setting to see what it’s all about.

Reinvented Bingo Halls 

The future of the bingo hall may rest on its ability to reinvent itself, which is exactly what has happened in London. With the capital often pushing the envelope on creative solutions, a bingo hall was recently opened that looks nothing like the establishments of yesteryear.

For example, there’s trendy music. Lots of delicious food, craft beers, and lighting that would perhaps feel more at home at a cool bar in the centre of the capital.

Even existing big-name bingo halls are also looking to change things up a little bit and welcome some fresh new players into the fold. Some have belatedly introduced techy solutions like screens and electronic bingo units.

For some, it’s a hipster nightmare. But for many, it’s a fun alternative to old-school bingo’s boring style. No matter the camp you’re in, it’s a positive development.

It shows that bingo can cater to a wider audience, whether you like the comfort of traditional bingo, or something that’s a little more modern. If you want to play in a familiar setting or with a craft beer in hand, who’s to judge?

Bingo’s Future 

While Redditch may have lost its last bingo hall in 2020, there are still places that haven’t been consigned to the history books. Establishments such as Merkur Bingo, Shipley’s Bingo, and Mecca Bingo Forge in Glasgow are all still going strong, showing there’s life in the old dog yet. Even now, there are over 3 million bingo players in Britain.

Sure, we may not reach the pinnacle of bingo’s heyday, where it became as synonymous with Britain as fish and chips. But we’re seeing that Brits still have an undying love for the game, even if Redditch wasn’t quite able to prove it to the developers. But with the numbers showing that bingo is still big business, who knows, we may yet get our bingo back.


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