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Mecca and the birth of commercial bingo 1958–70: a case study

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Business History
Issue number7
Volume52
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)1086-1106
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The game of bingo has become synonymous with women of a certain age and class and has been stigmatised as a dead-end use of leisure. However, the development of commercial bingo in the wake of the Betting and Gaming Act (1961) offered the leisure industry access to a new and lucrative market. While many major players in the leisure industry of the early 1960s adopted commercial bingo as an adjunct to their offerings the Mecca dancing group adopted a strategy that made bingo so particularly their own that the brand rapidly became known as the bingo and dancing group with Eric Morley of Mecca referred to in the popular press as ‘Mr Bingo’. This paper provides a case study of the Mecca group as it moved into commercial gambling, rapidly increased its size and profitability, saw off competition in commercial gambling from larger companies and finally succumbed to a lucrative takeover in 1970.