Viva Las Vegas !

When most people think of Las Vegas they do not generally think of Vegas as a destination for bingo players. While that may have been true for several years bingo is undergoing a sort of renaissance in Las Vegas. Earlier this year the famous Rivera announced that it was bring bingo back to the renowned Las Vegas strip. Four years ago the Las Vegas strip lost its last bingo hall when the New Frontier closed four years ago. The new Rivera ownership and management have launched several projects since the company exited chapter 11 in April. The Rivera has revamped the food service, added new slot machines and has updated their sportsbook.

Adding a new bingo room will set the Rivera apart from most casinos on the strip. Rivera bingo room manager Bobby Taylor stated “Bingo has changed over the years.”It is no longer just a loss leader.” According to bingo news sources there will be some very attractive jackpots available. The Rivera is offering quarterly jackpot sessions with a promised payout of $200,000 over two days. Taylor expects to draw young players with the huge jackpots and told reporters “The demographic has gotten younger with the big games.” According to Taylor big game losses cover losses during slow times and said that he expects the new bingo room to break even.

Freddie Maatouk, vice president of gaming operations at PlayLV Gaming Operations, said that years ago casino operators on the strip cut bingo games because of the proliferation of more profitable electronic games. The Rivera’s bingo room will take up 6,000 square feet of space and big bingo games will move to a larger ballroom that can seat 1,800 players. Lou Hilford, a gaming consultant, said that stereotypical demographic of a typical bingo player did not excite the casino’s marketing department. Hilford stated “The image of a bingo player is a woman 55 or older, with her hair in curlers, smoking and drinking coffee from a Styrofoam cup.”

The addition of electronics to traditional bingo games has attracted younger players including men in their 20’ through 40’s changing the makeup of players. Maatouk said that his company, PlayLV, has the only bingo available in downtown Las Vegas. According to several bingo news sources the Rivera is taking a chance. Earlier Binion’s opened a bingo room and shut it down four months later. The Rivera first opened in 1955 and was the strip’s first high rise. Noah Acres, senior vice president of product development for the Rivera said “We are reconnecting with the public as a fun place to go. We want people to know, the Riviera is back.”