What Happened to Bingo in Pontypridd?

Bingo fans in Pontypridd may not be too shocked by the news that the former bingo hall has begun to be demolished. The site, and the nightclub Angharad’s, are being torn down as part of a redevelopment project announced by the Welsh government. Grant funding will help finance the project and Rhodda Cynon Taf Council aims to regenerate Pontypridd town centre by getting rid of the buildings. With the bingo hall vacant for some years, what does this tell us about the future of bingo?

Despite the disrepair of the building, the bingo industry continues to grow. The growth of online bingo as an alternative shows that people still enjoy the gameplay, and like the opportunity to engage with the game in a different way using digital means. The online bingo industry continues to diversify to offer greater options for players. For example, not only can players engage with bingo rooms, but there are bingo slots online that take the tension of a bingo game and marry it with online slots gameplay. Offering other casino-themed games alongside bingo shows variation which will appeal to more people.

Newer audiences can engage with bingo in a different format entirely. Bongo’s Bingo – a nightclub-style event – takes bingo gameplay and combines it with the atmosphere of a night out. Punters play bingo, which is interspersed with dance challenges and other nightclub staples. The chance to win zany prizes and have a laugh with friends has shown that bingo itself can be completely revamped and modernised. Often at the Tramshed in Cardiff, perhaps this could influence the site in Pontypridd?

With work commencing in late August 2020, the demolition will take between three to four months. While redevelopment work occurs, the premises will be boarded up – so they may be an unwanted eyesore in the town centre as we approach Christmas. Council leader Andrew Morgan is optimistic about the scheme and hopes it will bring regeneration to the town centre.

Not only will the regeneration be beneficial for the local economy, but it will play a role in a wider boosting of the economy of Wales. As transports links improve with the Cardiff area, the town is positioning itself to be somewhere for tourists to visit. By investing in the local economy and infrastructure, Pontypridd could even become somewhere that people come more often or move to for work.

The vacant buildings were left abandoned following the collapse of a private investment, so taking them back into the ownership of the council ensures that they will be used to strengthen the local community. With no firm ideas on what to do with the site yet, the council are open to hearing from commercial experts who may be able to suggest exactly how Pontypridd could be further improved.

The physical manifestations of bingo in Pontypridd may be about to be demolished, but the industry is continuing to succeed. Just because the building has fallen into disrepair, doesn’t mean that the appetite for the game in Pontypridd has. Bingo in Pontypridd may be slightly different going forwards, but there are still ways that residents can get involved with the game.

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