BINGO: Rank trials new ‘bingo bar’ concept as numbers fall

With numbers from its traditional market on the wane, bingo operator Mecca, is targeting the student pound with special offer nights and the launch of a new brand also including arcades, gaming and food and drink.

According to the latest financials from parent company Rank, the number of customer visits to Mecca bingo sites dropped nine per cent to 10.5m in the year to June 30th, although the amount each person spent did rise to above £20.

Chief executive Henry Birch said Mecca was looking to reach a new audience by trialling three different event formats aimed at students, 18-30-year olds and 25-45-year olds respectively, saying early results had been positive.

“The challenge will be how repeatable the business to these nights is, as we’re likely to get a student coming once a month or once a quarter but not every single night,” he said. “But it would not take too much of a success to have a discernible impact on our numbers.”

Parent company Rank opened its first site with new brand Luda in Walsall this month.

Luda will be bingo-led but offer a coffee and bar as well as slots and arcade games. Rank is looking to place the brand in town centres with high footfall. Two more are due to open in Leeds and Weston-super-Mare by early next year and successful will then be rolled out quickly to a number of different areas.

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