Bingo’s evolution truly is one to behold, as who would have thought that the classic game, inspired by the Italian lottery that existed in the 16th century, would evolve to become an online gaming phenomenon that millions of people play on online gaming sites each and every day, around the world. When you go online and visit bingo.paddypower.com, for example, you’ll be able to witness Bingo games in all their glory, available in a variety of different forms, that will keep you entertained.
Today you can play Bingo online on your desktop or on the go on a range of compatible devices with mobile Bingo. But how did Bingo get to this point you might ask? Well, we’re here to look right back to the game’s humble beginnings when it was first played in the UK, giving you a run down of the history of the classic game that we all know and love.
Bingo arrives on UK soil
It is believed that Bingo was first played in the United Kingdom (UK) in the 18th century, although it wasn’t quite the game that we know and love today. The first version of the game that was played in the UK is likely to have been a variation of the Italian lottery, ‘Le Lotto’.
Le Lotto was a game that consisted of 90 balls, much like a modern game of Bingo, and players would receive a card that consisted of three rows and nine columns. Five of the squares would be filled with numbers, whilst the other four were left blank. The aim of the game remained the same, to cover numbers when they are pulled out and called, in an attempt to complete a horizontal row.
Bingo grows in popularity
The popularity of Bingo in the UK began to rise in the 1940s during the war, with soldiers playing among themselves as a form of entertainment and socialisation. The game closely resembled the modern form of Bingo that is most commonly played in the UK today, but was known as ‘Housey-Housey’. When the war finally ended, they continued to play the game and its influence spread to British seaside towns. At this time you could play for prizes rather than cash, since gambling was a controversial activity, and under close scrutiny from the law.
Bingo was finally legalised in 1960 in the UK, under the Betting and Gaming Act, which meant that there was now a need for venues in which players could meet to play the game and socialise. When ITV was launched in 1955 and televisions became increasingly more present in the average British home, cinema attendance began to dwindle and many became redundant. As a result, many were transformed into Bingo Halls, since they were large enough to host large groups of people.
The first UK Bingo Hall opens
Since the game operated illegally from secret venues in the UK prior to the Betting and Gaming Act being passed, it’s difficult to trace the very first British Bingo Hall. However, two Bingo Halls that emerged from the closure of Odeon cinemas were opened in Peckham and Hackney Road, by Rank in 1961. The company ended up making a greater turnover from their Bingo Halls than they did from the cinemas, since the game was hugely trendy at the time.
Today, online Bingo is most popular among Brits, with the majority of people favouring the accessibility and on-the-go format that it conveniently provides. What’s more, in between Bingo games you could sample the other games on offer like the Fluffy Favourites game for real money, where you can substitute Bingo calls and balls for spinning reels.
The rise in popularity of Bingo on a whole in the last decade has caused new, trendy land-based Bingo clubs and events to emerge, which are popular among young people. This has caused the audience demographic of the game to shift significantly and since the game has now been adopted by the younger generation, it’s likely that its future has been secured and it will still be around for years to come.