These days, the traditional world of bingo is certainly looking a lot different. Who’d have ever dreamed that we’d be able to play online rather than having to visit our nearest club? And, with the rise of smart-phone technology, it’s still pretty mind-boggling that we can now even play for a full house when we’re out and about.
Now, it seems that even more variants are on the rise (such as Rebel Bingo), and a group of bingo-lovers from Leeds have recently been featured in the Yorkshire press for their innovative version of our favourite game.
35-year-old Mark Walsh came up with the concept of Rock and Roll Bingo while enjoying a pint down his local pub in Alwoodley in 2007. Inspiration struck during the regular pub quiz night where he and his friends were regular entrants. Being particularly good at the music round and having a grandmother who loved going to bingo, Mark decided it was high time that the two worlds collide.
Picking up a beer mat, he began to jot down his ideas, focusing on making it the kind of game that would appeal to both sexes as well as people of all ages. Mark says he then fine-tuned the concept but never imagined in a million years how successful it would prove to be.
His idea was a simple one, and followed many of the rules of regular bingo except for its musical twist. By listening to a song and correctly guessing the title and artist, players were required to match the song to their game card. Wins could be achieved with a full house, four corners or a line. On paper, the concept looked fairly straightforward. However, in reality, Mark discovered that getting it off the ground would involve months of hard work. He started by talking to his cousin, who he says is a computer guru, and asked him to burn forty-five songs onto a CD. He then fashioned home-made game cards, and gathered together around thirty friends and family members in the pub to give it a trial run. Luckily, he says it met with their approval and that “the buzz it created was amazing.”
Obviously, to get his idea out to the masses, Mark realised he’d have to come up with a way for people to buy the CDs and run games at their own venues. After obtaining the necessary music licences and creating Rock and Roll Bingo kits, he invested time in marketing his new product. Then, in 2009, he was approached by Mecca Bingo who wanted to use it to keep players in their clubs after 9pm, and you’ll now know it as After Dark Bingo. Mark now has over 2,000 clients using this idea across the UK, and he’s currently focusing on taking Rock and Roll Bingo to America and Europe.