It goes without saying that Wales is a nation that is proud of its heritage. And central to this, for many people, is the continued use of the Welsh language. In the Annual Population Survey for the year ending on 31 March 2021, 29.1% of the population were able to speak Welsh – that’s a total of around 883,000 people. It’s also a figure that is on the rise – the number of people in the previous year’s survey was 858,000, making an increase of 0.8%. The Welsh Government is also committed to ensuring that the figures rise.
A key element of the strategy will obviously be to encourage the use of Welsh in as many areas of life as possible – and this will include the way people spend their leisure time. One activity that seems to offer the prime potential for using Welsh is online bingo and, more precisely, the slingo games that are proving to be more and more popular these days.
The difference between bingo and slingo is that the latter also includes elements of the slots games that are also big favourites for players. This means that the games tend to be more strongly themed than standard bingo – which could lend itself perfectly to having a distinctly Welsh element. After all, one just has to look at some of the biggest slingo games like Rainbow Riches to see that this is firmly themed around elements of Irish folklore including the lucky leprechaun who is by the players’ sides to try to lead them to the gold at the end of the rainbow.
Wales also has a very rich store of historic myths and stories that would sit perfectly in a game that would be played in Welsh. One example could be King Arthur drawing the sword from the stone, thus fulfilling the last wishes of his father. King Uther Pendragon. Or, for a more contemporary tale of Welsh bravery and achievement, perhaps another game could feature the nation’s mighty rugby team.
Of course, this isn’t to say that there isn’t also huge potential for the standard games of bingo to be delivered in Welsh too. The online caller could even invent some new expressions along the lines of ‘legs eleven’ and ‘all on its own, number one’ to really start to have a little fun with the language.
Introducing Welsh bingo would be a real no-brainer for online bingo operators too who are always trying to introduce novelty and make playing the games a more and more personal and targeted experience. It should also get some fairly widespread public support tying in as it does, with many of the sentiments expressed on Welsh Language Rights Day back in December 2021, with many people acknowledging the importance of keeping the language alive.
And, with the Welsh Government’s ambition to have 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050, bingo could certainly have a very important role to play in making it happen.