bingo craze

‘A bingo craze swept Manitoba’: The $640K Kinsmen jackpot has been won

WINNIPEG — The bingo fever that that took over Manitoba has come to end.

Kinsmen Jackpot Bingo confirmed to CTV News Winnipeg that on Saturday someone won the $640,000 jackpot — the largest prize in the weekly game’s history.

“We stopped the game at 49 balls because we got caller or callers calling in for bingo,” said Raj Phangureh, who’s been running the bingo for ten years.

Phangureh said the jackpot has been growing since May 11, and that sales have steadily increased over time. The jackpot is comprised of $1 from every card sold, on top of an initial $10,000.

“With our jackpot at $640,000, I mean that would basically put our estimate at $630,000 cards sold in that time,” he said.

Phangureh said Kinsmen’s average is normally 6,000 cards sold in the summer and 9,000 in the winter, but this year’s sales got to the point where they couldn’t keep up with the demand for printing, supply and distribution.

“We were climbing to a regular sales amount like 10,000, 11,000 cards a week in September and climbing 10 per cent every week until we hit about 80,000 cards in January 18 and January 25,” he said.

In January, CTV News Winnipeg reported on people clamouring to get their hands on the cards, sold out almost everywhere.

Phangureh said he estimates the net sales were about $2 million and said they are going to try and find the best community causes to contribute the money to. In the past they’ve given to Winnipeg Harvest, The Dream Factory, Special Olympics Manitoba, and Agape Table.

“I think just a bingo craze swept Manitoba last week. It’s really been sweeping Manitoba, I think, the past I would say three months, if not a little bit longer,” he said.

The name of the winner will be released later in the week.

The bingo fever that that took over Manitoba has come to end.

Inside Bongo’s Bingo craze sweeping Britain with 90s rave music and jugs of Prosecco

Bongo’s Bingo in central Manchester hosts events for people aged 18 to 80 where they party the night away by listening cheesy tunes

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  • 20:47, 19 NOV 2019
  • Updated 12:50, 20 NOV 2019

It is Thursday night in one of Manchester’s most historic former churches – but here there is a very different form of worship going on.

More than a thousand clubbers, aged from 18 to 80, are dancing wildly on tables, waving glowsticks in the air to the cheesy strains of Cotton Eye Joe.

It is a million miles away from the 1950s when Sir Winston Churchill gave a noble address in the very same room of the Albert Hall.

But tonight’s audience are no less captivated as their host for the evening, Rich Furness, shouts: “Manchester! It’s f***ing bingo time!”

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Welcome to Bongo’s Bingo – the clubbing phenomenon sweeping the nation and attracting thousands of fans of all ages every week.

This is bingo like you have never seen it before. Forget your dabbers in a dusty hall, nursing half a cider.

At Bongo’s it is bingo in glorious Technicolor, with players fuelled by jugs of Prosecco and gin cocktails, hairy male dancers dressed in skimpy Disney princess costumes and cheesy pop classics to get people raving in the aisles and on the tables.

And the unique thing about Bongo’s is it has something for everyone – from students on freshers’ week to grannies on nights out with three generations of their family.

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But Bongo’s is not the only place attracting older clubbers who previously might have spent their weekend nights with their feet up in front of the telly.

Hacienda Classical, which takes dance music from legendary club the Manchester Hacienda and sets it to the strains of a live classical orchestra, has been selling out across the country, with 40-something clubbers reliving their raving heydays.

And Baby Loves Disco has brought clubbing into the afternoons, so parents can bring along their toddlers and dance to their favourite rave classics – and hopefully avoid a hangover in the process.

But at Bongo’s, it is strictly over-18s only and my bingo partner for the night was 77-year-old Eileen Johnson, from Rochdale, who was on a night out with daughter Dawn Brown-Latey and granddaughter Rhoadaline, 21.

“Will you be dancing on the table tonight then Eileen?” I ask her as an ice-breaker. “I will if I have a few of these,” she laughs, pointing at her favourite Bacardi and coke tipple.

And she stuck to her promise. As soon as DJ Rich stuck on party pleaser Sweet Caroline, she was on her feet and dancing away with the best of them.

Dawn, 51, is not surprised. “She’s the life and soul of the party is my mum,” she explains. “Of course, her favourite song is Come on Eileen and she is always the first one up dancing to it.

“She is up for anything. Doing stuff like this with us keeps her young – you would never believe she is 77.”

Former textile mill worker Eileen is not the only one who is up for anything.

Playing bingo almost seems like an after-thought as students and grannies rave together to the strains of the Nolans’ I’m in the Mood for Dancing.

And one poor lass clearly got so over-excited by the cocktail jugs that she had to be carried out before the first game of bingo was over.

But that does not mean there is not stiff competition when eyes down is called.

Some players, though, seem more excited by the space hopper, life-size cardboard cut-out of telly chef Ainsley Harriott and a Henry Hoover than they do by the big cash payouts of hundreds of pounds for a full house.

As Rich calls out the numbers, the players are waiting with bated breath – not for one that gives them a chance of a prize, but for a number which triggers a song to get them all dancing.

When Rich announces the number 19, the place is soon bouncing to the strains of Manc anthem Not Nineteen Forever by The Courteeners. Number 33 brings Irish classic Tell Me Ma, and the number five a pop Medley by 90s boyband 5ive. You get the gist.

Jane Roughsedge was at Bongo’s to celebrate her 50th birthday with her family and friends. Jane and niece Emma, 40, are Bongo’s veterans and brought their pals along to see what they have been raving on about.

Emma says: “We love it. Every time you come, something different happens. It is so unexpected and the music is brilliant.” Jane adds: “I don’t really go out much these days, so it is really great to do something like this for a special occasion.”

On the next table along, are a group of young students from Manchester Metropolitan University on a freshers’ week night out.

Should they not be down the road in one of the city’s big rave clubs, I ask. Tom Ruston, 19, laughs: “Bongo’s Bingo is better than a rave.”

His pal Kodie Sergeant, 18, agrees: “I love Bongo’s. You can dress up, dress down, it doesn’t matter.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are either – I’m only 18 but there will be a lady over there who is 60.”

Bongo’s was launched in 2015 by friends Jonny Bongo and Joshua Burke.

In just four years, they have gone international, with shows week-in-week-out across the country and in Australia, Ibiza, France and Dubai, selling more than a million tickets.

But with any money-spinner, there is bound to be controversy.

There is currently an on-going High Court battle over who owns the rights to Bongo’s, with Liverpool bar Camp and Furnace claiming to be the owner, as Burke launched the nights there while he was their employee.

But the fans do not seem to care what is going on behind the scenes as long as they can play bingo and dance like nobody’s watching.

Host Rich, who by his own admission is feeling a little delicate after a 24-hour stint in Ibiza hosting a Bongo’s special there, says the magic of Bongo’s is that it appeals to anyone and everyone.

“It is something that all ages can enjoy. You get generations here – daughters coming with their mums and their nannas. It is a really rare thing. Because you have the bingo, the stand-up comedy, audience interaction, dance-offs – there is something that everyone can enjoy.

“We appeal to an age range of 18 to 90. We had one lady here who was 92. To have something that appeals to so many different age ranges is the nut that we have cracked.

“For the older ones, it is like they are reliving their youth. In fact, I think they enjoy it more – in the raves it is the older ones you see really going for it. Some people call it “forced fun” but it isn’t forced, it is just brilliant fun.”

Halfway through a game, one student shouts for Rich to slow down on the number calling – the cocktail jugs clearly clouding his bingo dabbing skills. He is immediately berated by the host, much to the delight of the crowd. “This is a game created for pensioners,” shouts Rich. “And you are telling me you can’t keep up?”

And woe-betide anyone who calls bingo by mistake. They are immediately declared to be a d**khead by Rich and the crowd.

Anything goes at Bongo’s. If two people shout bingo at the same time, they have to get on stage for a dance-off and the crowd vote with their cheers to decide who is the winner of a big cash prize of up to £750.

“We had an 80-year-old man in for his birthday and he won a dinosaur costume. He put it on straight away and kept it on all night,” laughs Rich.

“Then, last week in Glasgow, we had a pregnant lady in the dance-off and she won. So many random things happen here all the time. I think that is what keeps people coming back.”

Bongo’s Bingos events are a bingo game unlike any other

By Kieren Williams

Bongo’s Bingos events are a bingo game unlike any other.

As a 23-year-old I thought bingo was a game for my gran.

But with everything from dance offs, drinking and 90s music, to a rave interval, confetti and cat walks, this is a night out for any age.

The night will see you having a dance off with strangers for cash prizes and going from nearly silent games of bingo one moment, to dancing on the tables the next with the room erupting into mayhem.

I had the best night at Bongo’s Bingo, playing a classic game with an amazing twist. There was a lot of screeching, with Bee Gees music booming from the speakers and everyone up on their feet, number after number, drink after drink.

It was certainly a bit different from the evenings I’d go with my gran at the local community centre before Christmas.

Bongo's Bingo in central Manchester hosts events for people aged 18 to 80 where they party the night away by listening cheesy tunes