Bingo is a celebrated game that is played and enjoyed by millions of people, from all walks of life, across the globe. In the UK alone, 4 million people play both traditionally and online. Such overwhelming popularity made us wonder where bingo originated from. Let's go back to the start and look at the origin of bingo games.
According to most reliable sources, bingo originated from an Italian lottery game. Rather like 'Chinese whispers' the game travelled through Europe, undergoing many transformations to rules and playing style. For example, the same game when played by French Royals was known as 'Le Lotto'. However, both the French and Italian versions were a similar format to the one played today. The game that most accurately resembled bingo was a German game, chiefly used as a learning tool; it was a fun way to teach children spelling, multiplication, numbers and history. But the term 'bingo' had yet to come into existence.
It finally came in the US and its popularity swept across like a tidal wave. After some years of 'beano' games, the term 'bingo' was ultimately coined. Initially, as one lady's mistaken exclamation of 'bingo!' instead of 'beano!' overheard and liked by Edwin Lowe, the Christopher Columbus of bingo, it has remained ever since.
Lowe had travelled throughout the US to spread the popularity of this game and by the 1940s the entire nation had seemingly embraced it. Reasons could have been the ease of playing, and the excitement of gambling. Bingo is also a kinder gambling, generally with smaller stakes - this soon appealed to a large audience that wanted the adrenaline of risk without risking too much! US bingo and its UK counterpart soon emerged as the most sought-after indoor game across the world. Each passing decade saw an advance in technology. Drawing machines became more sophisticated, player-base became more in demand - ergo, the bingo-invasion-of-the-internet was inevitable. The online game brought a new style. And it has escalated in popularity since!
Bingo has gone from strength to strength, this is in part due to how easy it is to learn! In this way it appeals to people of all ages. Although many people play the game for fun, the jackpots are no laughing matter. 5.9 million was won by a man living in Lincolnshire - after betting just 30p online! Now that's a huge bingo jackpot! The simple structure of the game allows it to fit effortlessly into an internet version. A combination of the simple format, easy rules, and big money has triggered a wave of popularity. We have seen bingo expand into new games as well. Aside from the traditional 90 ball and 75 ball games, players can enjoy 30 ball bingo, Deal or No Deal bingo, speed bingo and an array of poker or casino related bingo!
1996: First online bingo site ever is launched in the form of Cyberbingo.com
2004: Think Bingo came into existence in August '04 as the very first UK standalone site.
2009: Cheeky Bingo became the first ever bingo portal to offer free games for real money prizes.
2011: A Facebook app turned into an online bingo hall called Wonder Bingo.
2013: The launch of 15 Network and bingo finally went mobile.
Technology is advancing so rapidly. I imagine bingo callers will be projected like Princess Leia's message from R2D2. Perhaps bingo will be the catalyst of a revolution, sparking a civilisation of bingolians. We can dream.
These days social networks are being used by various bingo brands as platforms to interact with their customers. There are even live bingo callers, introduced to give the game the ambiance of traditional bingo halls. The soar in popularity with the mobile version means players can play on the go and operate with touch-screen!
Despite the immense success of online bingo; TV bingo never managed to fire the imagination of players. Furthermore; the increasing number of bingo sites is triggering a jungle of opportunity, but the risk of losing a community! It's down to us, the activists of bingo, to stay at the top of the world!