The summer of 2023 has been memorable for all the wrong reasons. There have been wildfires across Europe and North America, with dry and devastating heat causing catastrophic damage to property and people. In the UK, however, it has been mild at best. Summer got off to a decent start, but then it descended into a misery of mild heat, grey skies, and rain.
It’s been bad news for garden sunbathers and days at the beach, but if recent sales figures are anything to go by, it has been the perfect weather for bingo.
Bingo (and Barbie) Weather
The owner of Mecca Bingo, The Rank Group, has seen sales increase by 17% from last year, and it’s not alone. The UK’s bingo rooms have provided some shelter from the rain while also giving punters an interesting way to spend a couple of hours.
It’s not just bingo, either. Experts think that the miserable weather could be partially behind the success of the Barbie and Oppenheimer films in the UK (although this is mainly down to viral marketing campaigns and social media trends). According to This is Money, the films have generated sizeable seasonal profits for UK cinemas while also impacting other indoor venues such as bowling alleys.
During its opening weekend, Barbie generated around £18.5 million in gross revenue while Oppenheimer hit £10.9 million, setting a record for the first time that two films have opened at more than £10 million in the UK.
It’s a huge step forward when you consider that the pandemic brought land-based bingo rooms and cinemas to their knees just a couple of years ago. In 2020, UK cinemas earned less than a quarter of the funds they had seen in 2019, while the combined revenue of 2021 and 2022 only just exceeded that of 2019.
Things are moving in the right direction, it seems. But it’s not all good news and both the bingo and betting industries are dealing with a number of challenges right now.
Why the Bingo Sector is Struggling
Online bingo has been enjoying somewhat of a resurgence over the last few years. It provides all the benefits of land-based bingo without needing to leave the home, and there is no shortage of sites offering big rooms, prizes, and bonuses to lure players through their virtual doors. But land-based bingo faces a number of unique challenges that are threatening the stability of this industry.
Inflation is high, rent is expensive, and wages are climbing. Combine this with the fact that many people have less money to spend on luxuries and you have a very difficult situation for land-based entertainment providers. So, the aforementioned 17% sales increase is not just great news for Mecca, it also bodes well for the industry on the whole and suggests it’s managing better than some expected.
There’s no telling what will happen in the future, but the summer of 2023 indicates that the public’s zeal for land-based bingo and box office blockbusters is still high even in an age of online bingo and digital home cinema.
The next time your picnic is rained off, consider visiting one of your local bingo rooms (or even joining in with the Barbenheimer fad!)