Bingo is f-u-n for new generation of fans

By Eun Kyung Kim

Bingo is back and don’t be looking for grandma at these game halls.

The classic game has taken root in a younger generation that has players rushing out of the office to meet friends for bingo rather than traditional happy hour specials.

Thursday night bingo at Houston’s Lodge 88 attracts an average of 700 people every week, with the lines forming long before 5 p.m. The center’s bingo organizer, Joann Buri, said about three-quarters of the crowd are under the age of 40.

Adam Campbell said it offers an opportunity to have some budget-friendly fun with friends.

“It’s just a cheap Thursday night out,” he told TODAY's Jenna Wolfe.

The resurgence partly comes from efforts to change up the environment where the game is being played, like flashing neon lights for rounds of cosmic bingo.

At one Atlanta bar, players use bingo cards with pop-culture references.

“Instead of just B-42, now it might be a hit TV theme song and you have to find that on your card,” said Justin Haynie, owner of Diesel Filling Station, where dozens of 20- and 30-somethings can be found playing the game each week.

“Most people think of that old-school bingo that their grandparents used to play. This is a lot different. It’s more crowd-interactive. You know, we encourage people to sing, dance.”

And they do.

“Everyone's around our age group,” said Courtney Rau. “It's loud; it's fun.”