Bingo has left its mark on many cultures across Europe, arguably none more so than the UK. A staple British pastime whether played online or in person, it was reported that the game generated almost £500 million in revenue from April 2021 to March 2022.

The format and gameplay of bingo have changed over the years but one fundamental principle remains the same: it’s a game of chance. The balls drawn are unpredictable and players rely on luck to complete their cards and win the game.

The Origins Of Bingo

Despite its popularity in the UK, bingo actually first originated in Italy during the 1500s. The name we have grown to know and love did not get added until much later and the game was originally called ‘Il Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia’. From here, it spread across Europe before making its way to America, where it was renamed ‘Beano’ due to the use of beans to mark off numbers on cards.

The story goes that one day a player by the name of Edwin Lowe mistakenly called out ‘Bingo’ instead of ‘Beano’ during a game. Lowe recognised the game’s popularity potential and created new versions, including 75-ball bingo and 90-ball bingo. The first recorded game of bingo took place on British soil during the 1700s and hey presto – it became a British cultural mainstay.

The Rules

As this game of chance developed over time and different versions have cropped up over the years, the rules have changed slightly. Traditionally, bingo is defined as a gambling game played for a prize pool made up of players’ stakes or a set of prizes. It is made up of three fundamental principles that distinguish it from other types of gambling. It must:

  • Be played as an equal chance game
  • Include a degree of participation
  • Have a clearly defined endpoint

Depending on the variation being played, but generally, every player receives a bingo card with a grid of set numbers. A caller will then call out random numbers for players to check off. The first player to get five numbers in a row vertically, horizontally or diagonally wins the game.

The Game

There is no denying that bingo has provided countless hours of entertainment for the British public since its introduction. The 1960s saw an explosion in the game’s popularity and marked the opening of bingo halls across the country. It quickly became one of the country’s favourite pastimes, with millions of people making the trip to their local establishments to try their luck at the game.

The emergence of online bingo games saw the decline of bingo halls during the early 2000s but this was a necessary development to keep up with changing trends and demographics. This has opened up opportunities for an entirely new generation of players and secured the game’s relevancy for future years.