Could Drive-In Bingo be the Next Swedish Import?

197: At the drive-in” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by niseag03

There’s no denying that when it comes to exports Sweden is a country that punches well above its weight. What’s more, these cover everything from super-safe Volvo cars to infuriating flat-pack furniture courtesy of IKEA.

Now there’s another phenomenon that could well be heading our way before very long – drive-in bingo. This may be a concept that’s new to us but is long-established in Sweden where sessions often attract hundreds of players who drive to a rural location to play.

Eyes down – but only once you’ve parked

The way the game works is simple. The cars alight on a specified open space in the countryside where marshals direct them to park in neat rows. When the game begins, the numbers are called out on loudspeakers and the winner of each game indicates they’ve won by sounding their car horn. Once their card has been checked and verified by one of the official attendants they receive a cash prize that can reach up £3,000 if there is a long run of rollovers.

But Drive-In bingo is far more than just a chance to win, it’s also a very social event as players also generally bring picnics to enjoy between games. So, often, groups of friends use it as a chance to get together for a very different kind of night out.

A drive in the country

Countryside” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Maria Eklind

There are a few reasons that have been put forward for the popularity of this form of bingo in Sweden. The first is that the country’s northerly latitude means that it stays light until midnight in summer months, perfect for the drive-in experience.

The second is that there’s the space to do it, especially in rural areas. This is also linked to the population density of the country which, according to latest figures is only 64 people per square mile. Compare this with the UK’s 727 people per square mile and you’ll see just how sparsely populated this is.

Thirdly, there is an inbuilt love in Sweden for all things American and this kind of bingo has a distinct drive-in movie vibe to it, but without the movies.

Are we ready?

As to whether the UK would be ready for the concept of the drive-in bingo, there’s no reason why not. We might be a little more crowded in than Sweden but there are plenty of open spaces where outdoor events take place throughout the summer.

There’s also a whole new generation of bingo fans who have been introduced to the game by the online version. And, while the drive-in variety might not be able to offer the generous welcome bonuses that can be found somewhere like Best New Bingo Sites, or the chance to get free spins on their popular slots, there will always be the novelty of the alfresco game to attract new players.

So maybe summer 2021 will be when we see our first drive-in bingo game in the UK. And, as to what music to put on the car stereo accompany the fun, ABBA’s “Money, Money, Money” has to be the number one choice.

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