A History of Bingo

    Bingo is a very old game, this almost everybody knows. The game can be traced back to the early sixteenth century, in Italy. An Italian lottery game called Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia (a lottery game that is still played today in the country) is often cited as the founding father of the modern game of bingo. The game caught on and was exported to France within two hundred and fifty years, called Le Lotto in that country. Within another two decades, the Germans had picked up the game too, although they had removed the gambling aspects that dominated French and Italian games, and made use of it as a learning tool for mathematics and other educational topics.

    The game had reached the United Kingdom also, long before this point and had become a small success, though not by the standard it would do it latter half of the twentieth century. The game of bingo also reached the United States by the late nineteen twenties, even being played in churches in a bid to raise funds for the parishes.

    Alongside the American version of the game, which contains 75 balls – the ninety ball UK version of the game developed properly into the modern game we know today at around about the same time. Over time, the two games tended to split apart into what we know now as to main key bingo variants. The American game generally involves clearing all of the numbers on a card to call bingo. In the UK variant (90 ball) however, prizes are awarded for a line (clearing one row of numbers), two lines (the same but two lines of numbers) and a full house (all numbers matched). Bingo has also since developed into an eighty ball game, which is mixed variant of the two other forms. This type of bingo is gaining in popularity but it still quite some way behind the other two forms, with ninety ball arguably the most common form of bingo in the world today.

    Part of the reason for the success of ninety ball bingo could come from the fact that more people tended to play in recent times in the United Kingdom, than across the pond in the United States. In the US, there were a small number of clubs where people went to play, but the advent of land based casinos in several parts of the country took away the clients, and other tighter gambling laws may have constricted the amount of people willing to gamble further.

    In the United Kingdom though, the much freer and liberal gambling laws permitted the growth of bingo clubs throughout the country, of which many still survive even unto today. The sixties, seventies and eighties saw the heyday of the bingo clubs, but by the mid nineties these were in sharp decline. Bingo it seemed was dead.

    But it didn’t last. With the advent of the online casinos, the bingo movement found a revival and from the odd bingo game in online casinos, actual online bingo sites began to blossom. Still though, even by the mid two thousands, they weren’t exactly a force to be reckoned with. A few years ago however, that changed. Bingo sites began to advertise on television, they adapted and now as the year comes to an end; it seems that there is barely a week when a new online bingo site doesn’t crop up. Online bingo has since made the move to the mobile gaming platform too, and believe it or not, some of the old bingo clubs are beginning to return to the high streets too.

    Bingo in the United Kingdom has never been more popular. With bingo clubs, online bingo sites, mobile bingo games and bingo played in the pubs – bingo is back and here to stay!


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