Can Sci-Fi Learn Anything from the Renewed Rise of Bingo?

Bingo is a traditional game usually played by seniors, whereas sci-fi creates a fantasy world for audiences to disappear into.

On the face of it, sci-fi and bingo don’t share many similarities. Bingo is a traditional game usually played by seniors, whereas sci-fi creates a fantasy world for audiences to disappear into. However, while they might not be cut from the same cloth, they do have a connection.  

After all, both industries have experienced a downturn in fortunes, even though they have been largely prosperous over the years. But bingo hasn’t admitted defeat. Instead, the sector has redefined itself, leading to a renewed sense of importance in popular culture. More importantly, science fiction can do the same if it learns lessons from the example set by bingo.  


The Art of Being Less Traditional  

In the past, the traditional nature of both genres has benefitted them greatly. A prime example was the average age of bingo players, which was estimated to be over-60 before the 2010s. Sci-fi, on the other hand, has adopted a strategy of appealing to a niche audience base that is passionate about the art form.  

However, as the game of bingo highlights, this might not be the best way forward in terms of reaching a wider audience. This is because bingo has pivoted from its roots to engage different demographics, not just middle-aged men and women and seniors. In the UK, for example, brands are offering features that people would expect to see at bars and restaurants, such as loud music and food and drink. The party-like atmosphere means that the environment is ideal for younger players who want to unwind and enjoy a less stuffy version of the game. Of course, the significance of the internet is also a factor as online bingo specializes in developing different variations of classics that keep the excitement factor high, something that the wide range of bingo games from Betfair showcase perfectly as the gaming library is diverse and eclectic.  

Science fiction is already reaping the rewards of taking the same path in some quarters. Marvel’s Avengers franchise is a fantasy world that is a market-leader within the movie, TV and merchandise markets after an article from Time outlined how Endgame has surpassed Avatar as the highest-grossing movie ever. 


Cementing the Advantage

When bingo gained a foothold in the industry again, it didn’t let its advantage go to waste as it did back in the 80s and 90s. Instead, the industry learned from its mistakes to ensure that it used its platforms to compete with other giants of the wagering sector, such as sports, eSports and casinos.  

How did it do it? The answer is through a constant stream of marketing that encourages audiences to consider playing bingo. The strategy is still used today, whether it’s via traditional advertising methods such as TV and radio, or contemporary ones like social media channels. According to The Guardian, betting firms in Britain, such as the ones that provide bingo services, increased marketing spending from 2012 to 2016 by half a billion pounds, the equivalent of $688 million. The tactic is there for science fiction brands, too, as Forbes reports that book advertising has seen fantasy literary novels double in sales since 2010. In China, meanwhile, the sci-fi market is even bigger after it was reported to have nearly exceeded a value of $10 billion.  

Once you understand the relationship from this perspective, it’s clear to see that the sci-fi industry can learn a lot from the renewed growth of the bingo sector. In some ways, it has already implemented the teachings to its advantage. 

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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