Bingo has been around for almost five centuries. The game has originated in Italy, though not called Bingo. It was called il Gioco del Lotto d’Itali.
The game later on spread to France, but the rest of Europe would not hear about it for another three centuries when it migrated to Britain in the 18th century.
Back then it was played among aristocracy. Nowadays it has reached a level of popularity unmatched resulted from its simple rules and mechanics. It’s played across all ages, from kids to senior citizens who are always up to scratch out some numbers on the card.
How to play
The rules are very simple. There are two main known versions of the game. There’s the UK version and the American version. Both are very similar except for the card layout, and that the American version is played with 75 balls instead of 90 as in its British counterpart. The game takes place, officially, on what are called Bingo halls. That said, it can be played anywhere if you have the right gear.
The players hold bingo cards with shuffled numbers. UK version of the game has no letters, opposite to the American version that has B I N G O written on top of the columns with a letter assigned to each column and numbers and blank spaces are laid out below.
The person in charge of calling the numbers is called “Caller”, calling numbers dropped from a spherical shape cage design to shuffle the balls. There are, of course, other methods. More sophisticated depending on how big and professional the hall is. There’s even electronic bingo. The US version calls for letters from word BINGO along with the number. For example: B5.
When a player has in the card a number matched with the number called, he or she would mark it with a highlighter. The goal of the game is to highlight all your numbers in the card. To claim your victory, you only need to shout from the top of your lungs “BINGO”. Well, you can also just say Bingo like a regular person, but that isn’t fun. If you play in the United States, if you get Bingo before certain number of balls are called you get a Jackpot.
This does not apply for traditional UK Bingo, but you can get lines instead. For example, if you get all numbers withing a horizontal line of your card you get a part of the pot.
A game for everyone
Now that you are familiarized with the rules, you can understand why it is so popular. It’s extremely simple and easy to pick up and play. The game popularity crosses boundaries across all ages. It’s as popular among children as it is with senior citizens.
There are major celebrities also who are known for being avid bingo players. This includes famous people such as Robbie Williams, Mick Jagger and Bono. Seems like thrashing hotel rooms days are left behind. Shouting Bingo is hip now!
Kate Moss and Sharon Osbourne are into this game too. And last but not least, we have to mention Queen Elizabeth and Prince William who are well known for throwing bingo parties.
Bingo games are also very popular in nursing homes and retirement communities because they can help older player to socialize and it has therapeutical benefits, doctors say. It’s also key that the game can entertain a huge number of residents while still only a few staff members are required to host the game. Bingo is also played in churches and fundraisers. It’s a game for everyone!
Bingo halls you need to see
This Bingo hall located in Tooting is stunning. It opened its doors back in 1930 as an Art Deco cinema. It holds up beautifully still today. It first opened as a part of the Granada cinema chain.
In the 40’s it became one of the most popular venues in Wandsworth. Artists such as Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones and the Beatles played their music there.
Unfortunately, in 1973 the cinema was flooded by a storm and had to be closed. Three years later it was re-opened as Granada Bingo, then Gala Bingo and now Buzz Bingo. It’s a Grade I building now, as it was in its golden years.
Located in Brighton Road, it’s a part of the Majesty Bingo family. Also, built in the 30’s as a Grade II building. It has been renovated in 2016 and the changes will not disappoint.
It looks sharper than ever and it’s worth the visit if you go to Wales.
It’s a former Theater in an Art Deco design. It was renovated into a cinema before becoming a bingo hall in 1981. You can play there electronic and classic bingo.
Opera House, Royal Tunbridge Wells
As the name suggests, it was original an Opera House from 1902. It was even bombed during World War II. Fortunately, the bomb did not explode. It was turn into a bingo hall in the 60’s as an option to avoid its demolition. It was granted its Grade II building in 1966.
While the game remains as fresh as ever there has been a decline in the UK when it comes to bingo halls. It is said that this is related to high taxes and halls turning into smoke free areas.
Bingo is as fun as it was five hundred years ago, and now, fortunately for players around the world we have the option of playing bingo games online.
What are the advantages? Well, as with all online games, you can play from anywhere at any time of the day. With the advantages of new technologies Bingo games are getting more appealing, faster and interesting. You can play with players all around the world so you can always be sure there will be big pots waiting for you to grab.
It’s just like electronic bingo but at the tip of your fingers. No dress codes required, of course!