Rank Group, the owners of Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino, has come up with a cunning plan to help attract a new generation of players. In a bid to get more men and younger people in their 20s enjoying the game, they’ve created their first electronic-only bingo hall. The club that’s been chosen for the trial is situated in Reading, and will allow players to play on portable tablets which look similar to the Apple iPad. Ian Burke is the chief executive and chairman of Rank, and he says that these clever devices will require less concentration than the traditional game cards, allowing players to spend more time chatting, eating, and drinking while playing.
Rank has reported a four percent growth in customer numbers for the first half of their financial year; however, many of their new players are coming on-board to play online rather than at physical clubs, many of which are still struggling with a distinct downturn in footfall since the recession started, as well as bad weather conditions the UK has experienced since the start of 2013. Mr. Burke believes that in-club digital gaming will appeal to those who appreciate the simplicity and player-friendly experience offered by their online bingo product, particularly to the under-35 age group. He also hopes that the new-fangled tablet devices will help create a more even male-to-female ratio in Mecca Bingo
clubs in future if the trial proves to be a success.
In order to mark their cards, players at the Reading branch can tap their screens as their numbers, or allow the device to catch-up for them if they’ve missed any calls. Whilst Rank don’t expect the traditional way of playing bingo that we’ve come to know and love will disappear any time soon, they have pointed out that no-one would have imagined just how many people would take to tablet devices (like the iPad) over the last few years.
As a bingo-lover, what do you think about this new way to play at Mecca Bingo? Do you think it’s a good idea, and if so why? Perhaps you prefer playing with a traditional card and pen, or you’re not a fan of gadgets in which case, would you stop visiting your local club if they introduced these tablet devices? Alternatively, if you only ever tend to play online, are you more likely to venture down to a land-based bingo hall if these devices were available to use?