Time was, when you mentioned bingo, your mind immediately went to cigarette-smoke filled community centres packed with elderly blue-rinsed ladies, and rhyming phrases such as ‘Garden Gate’, ‘Knock on the door’ and ‘Man alive’. But over the last few decades, bingo has evolved alongside computer technology and best-rated online slot games in general. BBC.co.uk reports that between 2004 and 2013, the number of bingo sites thought to operate in the UK has surged from 20 to over 300. Now, a whole new generation of players are logging on to bingo websites to mark off their virtual numbers, and win big bucks without even having to raise a dabber.
The beginnings of bingo
The game we now know as ‘Bingo’ originated way back in 1530, in an Italian state lottery game called ‘Lo Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia’. By the late 1700s, the French had developed ‘Le Lotto’, played with numbered cards with three rows and nine columns, with five numbered and four blank squares. Wooden chips numbered 1-90 were drawn from a bag, and players marked off the relevant numbers on their cards, completing a row to win.
The impact of the smoking ban
In 2007, The Guardian reported that Gala Coral feared the closure of 12 or 13 bingo clubs in the wake of the smoking ban in England. Indeed, some strongly believe the smoking ban may have had a negative impact on the popularity of land-based bingo halls. For many bingo fans, being able to savour a cigarette as they dabbed off their numbers was clearly a big part of the experience. Online bingo sites let you play from the comfort of your own home, where you have control over your environment, and can smoke, snack, or even play naked if your heart desires.
Shifts in social interaction
Bingo has traditionally been a very social activity, with many players enjoying the company and the atmosphere of the bingo hall as much as its gambling aspect. But in recent years, the Internet has changed the way we interact socially. Now, we don’t need to get together in person to chat with our friends, but can simply log on to Facebook, or Twitter, or one of the thousands of communal sites where people with specific interests can communicate in real time. Bingo sites are often no different, and big sites like Gala and Mecca bingo offer live chat features as standard.
Ease of access
Just like other forms of gambling, bingo is ultimately a game of chance. Marking off the numbers yourself can be tedious, and though it adds an interesting element of skill to the game, if you miss a number and fail to shout for a huge prize, it can be heartbreaking. Now the technology exists to let the player sit back and enjoy the anticipation of the game. Much like the best slots online to play websites such as Easy do for slots games, online bingo removes an element of ‘grind’ from the playing experience. When you win on an online bingo site, you don’t have to shout ‘Bingo!’ in front of a whole hall of people, either, and face their grumpy, jealous stares. It’s no wonder more and more people are taking advantage of this ever-evolving modern incarnation of the beloved game.