Bingo is omnipresent. It is part of the scenery, the background. The popular game of chance is played across generations, from the schoolhouse to the retirement community. More than 100 million people worldwide play the game in some form. Despite its popularity and reach, few people take the time to delve into the fascinating history and evolution of bingo.
The history of bingo, as it turns out, is linked to the social history of gaming. It is a history of evolution: changing times mean changing bingo. We are going to take you on a whistle-stop tour of bingo history, charting its humble origins, its heyday, and its revival in the internet age.
Although Bingo does bear some resemblance to the Italian game ‘Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia’ that saw popularity in the 1500s, modern Bingo owes its form to a French game played by aristocrats in the 1700s. The parlours and grand halls of 18th Century France saw the popularisation of the game ‘Le Lotto’. Roughly speaking, the game was near identical to bingo.
‘Le Lotto’ also became widely used as an educational tool in German schools. Today, bingo is often used in primary education to help children develop numeracy. The word ‘bingo’ first became associated with the game in the United States, where players used to gather in cinemas to take part in rowdy games during the great depression. Initially known as ‘beano’ in the USA, the name bingo was adopted in the 1930s. According to legend, the name was coined when a surprised winner screamed ‘BINGO’ at the top of his lungs in jubilation.
Halls and Homes
In the UK, bingo hit peak popularity in the 1960s. The introduction of the Betting and Gaming Act in 1960 allowed for the opening of profitable bingo halls. Many of the grand converted theatres and cinemas that we associate with bingo were first used for the game during the 1960s heyday.
Bingo also became a well-loved pastime amongst retirees living together. Bingo is low stakes, and therefore is more accessible to those with limited income in comparison to poker and blackjack.
The Age of the Internet
The pre-eminence of the internet in our lives has completely changed the nature of bingo play around the world. A game of bingo is now accessible from a laptop or the phone in your hand.
The bingo market has exploded thanks to the internet. Sites clamor to offer the best deals on play, the smartest design, and the greatest prizes. Comparison sites such as bingositesreviewer.com make the process of choosing a bingo game slightly easier. Ultimately though, the modern bingo player is rather spoilt for choice: you don’t owe your allegiance to any one site!
In the age of the internet, bingo has attracted a younger user base. According to data gathered by YouGov, online bingo is most frequently played by players aged 25-34. YouGov reports that online bingo is a growing industry in the United Kingdom – diversifying in ways not seen previously.