The trend toward hip young players gravitating to bingo in Europe is also being experienced in the United States, aided by a cool ambience, amusingly sexy calls, exotic booze and in-your-face advertising on the theme "Not Your Grandma's Bingo," reports the Miami Herald this week. And the 20 to 30-somethings are responding in droves, attending bingo sessions at places with names like "Cosmic Bingo," from the Midwest to Miami.
Organisers have replaced tradition with modern calls and fun action, for example where multiple players achieve bingo simultaneously and instead of a tie being called a dance-off is the cry, which sees impromptu shake-your-booty competitions with the prize going to the dancer who gets the most applause. Elsewhere, the younger set have a ball waving glosticks and there's plenty of noise and laughter.
The new-look bingo has triggered interest in the game from a younger demographic that previously may have had the perception that it was a rather staid pastime favoured by an older generation.
The Miami Herald illustrates the point by reporting on Minnesota's Mystic Lake Casino. In 2007, after a decade of declining bingo attendance, the casino opened a new bingo hall and launched ''Cosmic Bingo'' - a youth-oriented Friday and Saturday night bingo party that includes dance music, humour with plenty of sexual undertones and lots of neon lights. When Cosmic Bingo crowds began to exceed 200 people, the casino was ''thrilled,'' Director of Gaming Operations Don Damond told the newspaper.
More recently, attendance has topped 500. ''There's a huge draw of 18-to 20-year-olds who can't go to bars yet, so they're looking for entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights,'' Damond said.
The Cosmic Bingo concept has since spread to Arizona, Maryland and Oregon, among other places.
''I wish we could have patented it,'' Damond said.