Bingo! Giving Fans Something to Shout About

What bingo is – a simplistic game that involves sheets of random numbers, selections drawn out of a hat, and a rousing shout of BINGO from the first player to complete a full row – that’s vertically, horizontally or diagonally. 

Scorecards typically have five rows, each containing five numbers and the letters BINGO; however, this is not the only way, with another variation containing 27 spaces – nine columns by three rows. 

There are also different rules depending on where you live and which version of the game you’re playing, and a variety of winning combinations, keeping the game both interesting and familiar. 

Never played bingo before? Want to find out what all the fuss is about, and set yourself up for a win the next time you set foot in a bingo hall? Read on.


The Current State of Play 

As of 2023, there is a balancing act playing out between the bingo hall and the online arena, and punters are voting with their wallets – perhaps the surprising thing is that there’s plenty of push for the brick-and-mortar venues to stick around for their experiential value. 

The resurgence of bingo is equally due to the rise of electronic gaming options. Online fans can access many of the best bingo sites thanks to review platforms like Online Bingo City. These sites make it easier for users to find reputable providers that have earned the tick of approval from other bingo lovers, and even offer useful tips on everything from registering for an account and making your first deposit to finding the best games to play. Player favourites are often prominently featured, presenting a “people’s choice” of games on offer that goes some way to eliminate decision paralysis. 

The Rich and Ongoing History of Bingo 

In modern-day Britain, there remains plenty of evidence that bingo has made a significant indent on the culture. Although the game can trace its origins to late 16th century Italy, it has found a sturdy UK fan base which has grown exponentially since World War One, particularly in men’s clubs. By the 1960s, there were more than six million members regularly attending bingo clubs, and even now, some three million people still frequent these venues for the thrill of the game.  

It’s a remarkable story of persistence, particularly given the recent downward trend that seemed to predict the total extinction of the game. Since 2005, in fact, there has been a marked decline in revenue across UK bingo halls, a situation worsened by the 2007 smoking ban and the emergence of COVID-19 just over a decade later, with more than 20 percent of these venues shutting up shop. 

The rise of online gambling has also contributed to hall closures as punters opted to get their gambling thrills from the comfort of home – but it’s the social aspect of the game in its traditional form that has brought the bingo bandwagon back around, and now, the game is on for young and old. 

Apart from the thrill of spending quality time with friends, the nostalgia of using the traditional dabber and paper is also a drawcard for young players, who also use the game as a much-needed screen time break. 

The Future of Bingo 

Bingo has found new life, not only with the ‘traditional’ older generations, but also with the younger generation. Many students and young adults are looking for an affordable, fun night out in an environment that facilitates conversation and connection, which can be challenging in bars and nightclubs, and bingo halls offer the perfect solution. A true generational tradition, the game attracts many players of all ages who enjoy the sense of community that exists around the halls. 

While the setting has remained much the same over the years, the methods of playing the game inside the bingo hall have evolved to appeal to modern sensibilities. Older players still enjoy the traditional form of the game, but young people are generally more interested in club-style bingo – a more energetic, vibrant take on the classic hall and caller combo. There’s also electronic bingo, mechanised cash bingo (the most common option in bingo halls), and linked bingo – the latter variation involving larger games played across multiple clubs and cash prizes to match.

Online bingo games will also continue to grow in popularity alongside all manner of digital technology as more players embrace the technology – another major trend contributing to the closure of traditional bingo halls. In any case, it seems that even the combined effect of the smoking ban, the high taxes, and now the growth of the internet can’t knock bingo off its perch as a truly long-standing game in the popularity ranks. If young people continue to embrace this classic game, it’s sure to have a bright future, both on and offline. 



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