FTD Digital’s Sue Dawson recently spoke with Mecca's Anthony Conroy about the company's illustrious history and future plans.
Celebrating its sixtieth year in operation, Mecca has become an iconic operator since opening its doors in the early 1960s. Playing a key role in popularising bricks-and-mortar bingo in the UK, the company now enjoys a significant online presence and is owned by Rank Interactive.
The Q&A with Sue Dawson covered a variety of topics including Anthony’s own career journey at Mecca, the evolution of online bingo and how the company has dealt with these challenging times. Here are some of the highlights.
Sue Dawson: Nice to Meet You, Anthony! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Mecca Bingo.
Anthony Conroy: I’ve been working in gaming for around 15 years starting out in a customer support role….I’ve been at Mecca for around 4 years and I have to say it’s been the most personally rewarding work I’ve done to date. Bingo is a community and never was that more important and evident than in the last 12 months. Players have been supporting each other through various lockdowns, illnesses and the loneliness that’s impacted so many people. We’ve…all really pulled together to help each other through it…filling the calendar with interesting and fun events to keep players connected to each other.
Sue Dawson: Mecca Bingo turned 60 this year. How do you think the game of bingo and the way people play it will have changed by the time Mecca’s 100th birthday comes round?
Anthony Conroy: It’s going to be really interesting to see where bingo leads us in the next 40 years! We’ve seen a massive shift in how we enjoy entertainment and where we find it. Change is inspired by the next generation and the clear focus…recently has been on a much more immersive experience. It’s not a stretch to imagine that in 40 years you’ll see Virtual Bingo Worlds where players can enter a space (that) changes to a swanky bar, bingo club or any other location imaginable.
Sue Dawson: What about the near future? What exciting innovations can we look forward to in the bingo world over the next five years?
Anthony Conroy: Bingo is evolving (and) becoming a more entertaining and immersive experience. I’m really excited by TV style entertainment shows being at the heart of bingo entertainment with things like phone in shows, chat quizzes and live events popping on a regular basis. We’ve just finished two months of live shows ourselves…to help keep players entertained during lockdown. We’ve (also) launched…popular games like Best Odds Bingo…, Premier Bingo Jackpots…and mobile games like Emoji and Burst. We pride ourselves on knowing our players…this year is no exception with the launch of two great new products in the coming weeks.
Sue will be holding another Q&A with Broadway Gaming very soon. Like Mecca, Broadway is an established brand that until recently operated on the Microgaming network. Following its closure last year, Broadway moved to Pragmatic Play. Sue will be talking about this as well as the company’s future plans. Be sure to check back for more information about this.