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Rebel Bingo: the controversial new player

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F March 18, 2016

"Some people don't like change", write the daring people at Rebel Bingo, the bingo-cum-avant garde performance collective that is currently shaking up the gaming world with an experimental breed of sequins, glamour, noise and hype. With a manifesto that outlines their humble origins, as well as the numerous opponents the group has come to terms with, it's clear that there's a new and unorthodox player in the bingo world, a rebel with a cause who is not playing quietly.

With shows spanning from Camden to Lisbon, Madrid to Las Vegas, the Rebels have shocked bingo halls in multiple corners of the western world. Hate them or love them, there's a real dynamic energy to the nights on offer. Live DJs blast intense beats out over trendy participants who, in turn, are encouraged to wave and cheer like a live audience on a Saturday night TV show as they compete for tickets to independent arts festivals, soft toys, champagne and giant cheques. While this is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, there's no denying that the atmosphere here is truly electric.

If you blush at the bingo calls for "83", "60" and "16", you'll be in a "28" when you hear the obscene slang dished out throughout these nights. The performance collective's bold distain for the traditional bingo rulebook has also caught the eye of social media commentators and national gambling associations alike. Clearly, it's not just participants who are having the 'intense and emotional' experience that Rebel Bingo's website promises.

Yet, despite this pressure, the group has been welcomed into one of the country's biggest bingo halls chains. In the organisers' words, "Goliath has opened the door to David", as the nights storm into Camden's Mecca bingo venue for a four-part takeover. The self-confessed "black sheep of the bingo family" certainly knows how to move tickets, with the large venue selling out weeks in advance, despite standing out like a sore thumb against the gambling giant's standard programme. Clearly, there's a market here for change and, like it or not, it certainly looks like Rebel Bingo is here to stay.

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