While the origins of modern Bingo stem from the United States, there can be no doubt that the game is firmly rooted in British culture. In the UK, bingo has managed to become one of the most popular gambling/leisure activities in the country. Over the past decade or so, the UK has seen a massive increase in the number of local and international bingo providers.
If we take a step back and think about why this is, we can come to a simple and clear answer. This influx of online bingo operators is a clear sign that there is a growing demand for online and mobile bingo games. While the market is still mainly female based, more and more young players both male and female are signing up.
Where it All Started
In order to understand why bingo has such a great hold in the UK, we need to go back to the beginning. The basic concept of Bingo dates back to the early 1600s. The game is said to have stemmed from the Italian lottery known as Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia. Over the next few hundred years, different variations of the game made its way around the world sometimes being used in schools for educational purposes. In France, the French aristocracy played the game where it was known as Le Lotto. The modern version of the game was created by a man named Edwin S. Lowe.
In 1942, during a visit to a local country carnival, Lowe came across a lottery game called Beano. The game was played with coloured beans and wooden disks and followed similar rules to the French Le Lotto game. Fascinated by the lottery style game, Lowe brought the game back to New York where he developed the game into the modern Bingo we all know and love.
It didn’t take long for the game to spread through the US becoming commonplace in gambling parlours, bars and social evenings. After the conclusion of the Second World War, British soldiers brought the game back to the UK where it was received with open arms.
Bingo in the UK
Over the next few years, the game of bingo worked its way through underground clubs, pubs, social gatherings as well as illegal betting halls. When the UK betting and gambling act of 1960 was passed, the gates were opened for Bingo to become a major player in the gambling industry. During the late 60s through to the 70s the number of bingo halls doubled almost every day. Interestingly enough, much of the expansion of bingo halls was due to the impact of television. With the introduction of television, more public forms of entertainment such as theatres, movie houses and dance halls saw a dramatic decrease in revenue.
British Bingo Halls
The novelty of television was such that people opted to stay at home to watch a movie rather than going to the theatre or movie house. Even dance halls were losing customers at a rapid rate. This lead to the closure of these facilities, and the perfect opportunity for Bingo to step in. Taking advantage of the large halls and public venues, Bingo halls were popping up all over the place. The combination of gambling and socialising turned out to be exactly what the public wanted. The Bingo phenomenon had begun and would continue for some time.
The Decline of Bingo Halls
Bingo halls across the UK continued to flourish as they acted as social centres and entertainment venues. It wasn’t until 2005 that any decline was seen at all. The fall of land-based bingo began in 2005 after a smoking ban was passed in the UK. At the time, bingo halls were clouded with a continual haze of cigarette smoke. The indoor smoking ban enforced a non-smoking rule in public areas including bingo halls. As you can imagine, this did not go down well with the locals leading to a massive decline in business within the first few weeks.
Online Bingo and the Internet Revolution
It was about this time that online gambling was gaining momentum. With improved technology, faster Internet speeds and a change in cultural conventions, the time of internet bingo had come. Suddenly anyone with a computer and an Internet connection could go online and play bingo without leaving the comfort of their own home. Fast forward another 10 years you can clearly see the results of the online revolution. In today’s fast-paced world, people don’t have the time or energy to visit their local bingo hall. As such online and mobile bingo sites offer the perfect alternative.
Online bingo in the UK offers players the opportunity to play and win real money while still giving players the social connection that made Bingo popular in the first place. While land-based bingo halls are still seeing a steady decline, online bingo sites have opened up a whole new world for entertainment, socialising and gambling online.