Thinking about opening a bingo business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Why Start A Bingo Business?
A bingo hall sounds like a fun way to earn a living as an entrepreneur. A good bingo hall can be open just a few days a week and still pull in several thousand dollars from a loyal base of bingo customers and first-timers.
But in the real world, bingo hall startups are a dicey business enterprise. If you motivation for starting a bingo business is fast cash for minimal effort, you're headed into the wrong line of work. Bingo has a unique subculture and barriers to entry that will quickly challenge even the most dedicated startup entrepreneurs.
Navigating State Regulations
Most states classify bingo as gambling. That could be bad news for your startup, especially if you invest in facilities, bingo cages and other assets before you research your state's regulatory environment.
Nonprofits are often excluded from gambling restrictions so that's why many bingo halls and games are operated by charitable organizations. Nonprofits also present another challenge for startup bingo operations: Even if your state allows private businesses to participate in bingo activities, your new business will be competing against a multitude of nonprofit bingo games. Since nonprofits are tax-exempt organizations staffed by volunteers (and your business isn't), you'll need to invent other ways to compensate for your startup's competitive disadvantage.
Making Bingo Pay
After you get the "all clear" to launch a bingo business, it's time to get creative and devise additional revenue streams that differentiate your bingo hall from the rest of the marketplace.
Selling alcoholic beverages to gamers can generate additional revenue and help your business compete with nonprofits that are restricted from serving alcohol. But if you're going to serve alcohol, why not take it a step further and offer food service as well?
There are many other ways to generate additional income through your bingo business. As sponsorships, business themes and slot machines are all valid ways to expand your operation. The key is to know your market and provide opportunities that can't be experienced at other for-profit and nonprofit bingo halls in your area.
Essential Features of Business Plans for Bingo Businesses
Your bingo company's business plan needs to be tailored to your personal and professional goals while at the same time maintaining a consistency with other business plans, particularly in the critical business plan components that most business experts consider to be essential.
The mandatory components of a bingo company business plan include an executive summary, mission statement, strategic overview, financial plan, marketing plan and timetable. Without these elements, your plan will have limited use to lenders, investors and other stakeholders..
Although it will need to be incorporated into the flow of your plan, we strongly recommend considering a PEST (Political, Economic, Social & Technological) analysis for inclusion in your bingo company's business plan.
Review the Competition
Long before you open a bingo business in your town, it's worthwhile to see how many competitors you have. Try our link below to generate a list of competitors in your city. Complete the form by entering your city, state and zip code to get a list of bingo businesses that are close by.
It's important to be aware of what the competition is doing. Take the time to visit the competition to properly assess their strengths and weaknesses.
A Good Source of Advice
If you want to open a bingo business it's a smart move to have a conversation with someone who is in the business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. Why would they want to educate a future competitor?
However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started a bingo business on the other side of the country can be a great learning resource for you, given that you don't compete with them in their area. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
How would you find a bingo business founder who is willing to advise you because you live in different cities?
No problem! Just use the link below and try a random city/state or zipcode. Then start dialing for advice until you are successful.
Advice for Acquiring a Bingo Business
Many entrepreneurs elect to acquire a profitable bingo business instead of navigating the challenges of a business startup.
Yet for many entrepreneurs, financing represents a major hurdle to buying a bingo business. Business acquisitions are easier to finance than business startups, even though the financing process can still be exhausting.
Our Business Acquisition Financing Tips have the information you need to successfully navigate the challenges of financing your new business.
Don't Rule Out Franchising
The chances of surviving in business are much better if you buy a franchise in lieu of doing everything yourself.
If you are thinking about opening a bingo business, it's worthwhile to investigate whether buying a franchise could alleviate your startup process.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you sell to bingo businesses, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.