Slot Machines at Bingo Halls

Bingo Halls Wouldn’t Survive Without Slot Machines

There are going to be some statistics and what not in this post, but don’t let that scare you off.

Data for the last financial year has shown some pretty interesting things about the way we bingo players use our bingo halls, and the surprising thing is, bingo doesn’t seem to be the main attraction.

Has that blown your mind? It did mine.

Whenever I go to play bingo, that’s pretty much all I do there. I might occasionally have a go on the slots, but not every time.

It appears though, that I am in the minority.

The data shows that bingo halls make a significant amount of their money via the slot machines, more than they make from the bingo in fact, and this post is all about why that might be.

Do Bingo Players Spend More on Slots than on Bingo?

Money Spent on Bingo vs Slots

Well, this is the question, isn’t it?

Between 2021 and 2022, Britain’s bingo fans spent a great big fat £389 million on playing bingo at their local clubs.

That was 57.9% more than the year before, although to be fair, that year included a few lockdowns and a bit of a pandemic, so perhaps that’s not as impressive as it sounds.

In fact, it’s just over half of what was being spent in the few years prior to covid (£680 million in 17/18 and £674 million in 18/19), so it’s not a great stat at all. That said, we are still dealing with the after effects as well as a cost of living crisis, so hopefully in a few years that total will be higher, which the bingo industry would very warmly welcome.

One thing that has been steadily changing each year though, and something that was unaffected by the pandemic, is how much of the overall spend in bingo clubs was on bingo itself, and how much was on slots.

Take a look at this:

Year Bingo Spend Slots Spend
2021/22 37.9% 62.1%
2020/21 45.8% 54.2%
2019/20 49.1% 50.9%
2018/19 51.9% 48.1%
2017/18 52.4% 47.6%
2016/17 53.3% 46.7%
2015/16 54.4% 45.6%
2014/15 55.3% 44.7%
2013/14 56.2% 43.8%
2012/13 58.3% 41.7%

As you can see, the percentage of bingo club spending on slots has been creeping up and up for quite a few years now, before taking a huge jump in the last two years.

In fact, it’s jumped by more than 20% in the last 10 years!

So what does this mean? Are bingo players ditching the game they love for something else, or is there another reason for these increasing figures?

Why is so Much Money Spent on Slot Machines at Bingo Halls?

Bingo Hall Opening Times

You have probably noticed that your bingo hall has been changing over the years.

Many are now hiring out their space to external companies who host monthly bingo nights with a wilder side, like Bongo’s Bingo and the like.

Whether or not these are your sort of thing, they are undeniably good for the clubs because they get a fresh bunch of customers in there and inject extra money into the business.

This is just one example of how bingo clubs are adapting to attract a younger audience.

They have also started creating more socially relaxed spaces that players who don’t mind talking and a bit more noise can use to enjoy their bingo at the same time as having a drink and a chat.

In short then, bingo halls are being used for more than just playing bingo.

If you look at their opening hours, usually around 11am until midnight or so, you can see that there isn’t bingo being played there every hour of the day. However, the club is open for anyone who wants a drink or something to eat, so they can be used a bit like pubs or cafes too.

Slot machines can be used for as long as the bingo club is open – there are people who go to bingo clubs specifically to play slots for a while when the bingo isn’t even on – so there is more opportunity for people to spend money on them.


Price of BingoAnother factor, is that while you can still get a full session of bingo in for about £10 at some places (perhaps using paper tickets), you can whiz through a tenner on the slots in a few minutes if you are playing for £1 stakes, for instance.

A bingo session can usually be played for various different prices depending on how many tickets you want for each game.

For example, my local club is tiered like this:

  • Package 1: £18
  • Package 2: £26
  • Package 3: £34
  • Package 4: £42
  • Package 1: £50
  • Paper Only: £10

You get about three times more bingo during the session if you spend £50 compared to spending £18, but whatever you spend, you can enjoy the whole session for that price. The amount of time you play for doesn’t change.

Chances are, if you spent the same amount of time on the slots as you spent playing a bingo session, you would be spending an awful lot more.

So not only are slots more expensive to play if you compare each £1 spent to how much game time you get for it, but they are available for longer too, and with bingo halls encouraging customers to use the venues outside of simply playing bingo, this might explain why slots are accounting for more of a bingo club’s revenue than they ever used to.

And at the sort of revenue split we are seeing in recent years, it’s a good job too, or many bingo halls would likely not be able to stay open.