Bingo is a classic game, that’s been enjoyed by players for generations. There seems to be a resurgence of this form of entertainment over the past few years. Bingo is attracting a younger group with new and exciting formats.
But how has bingo changed over the years — and how have providers gotten young audiences excited about this traditional game? Is bingo really here to stay?
Read on to find out everything you need to know.
How it all began
While not originally called bingo, the game has an incredibly long history, with its origins in 18th century Italy. Some historians belief it all began with the Italian lottery, Il Gioco del Lotto D’Italia. The game also has connections to French Aristocracy. From there it spread across Europe including Great Britain, where it gained popularity at fairs in carnivals during the 1920s. The modern bingo card design patent was made in 1942 by Erwin S. Lowe.
Things accelerated for the game with the introduction of the Betting and Gaming Act 1960, which took place on 1 January 1961. This Act made large cash prizes legal. As a result, Mecca Bingo was launched by the Mecca Leisure Group then led by Eric Morley. Morley owned a massive chain of dance halls and following the Betting and Gaming Act 1960, introduced bingo into 60 of them. These included some famous venues include the Lyceum Ballroom.
Over the next two decades, bingo became one of the most popular pastimes in the United Kingdom. At its peak at the end of the 1980s, there were approximately one thousand six hundred bingo venues to visit, with places in almost every town and city around the United Kingdom that hosted bingo for its fans. This number began to decline in the 1990s – by 1999, the number of people visiting bingo halls had dropped by an astonishing 90%.
Why the decline?
Changes in consumer behaviour and demand had affected the bingo industry to decline.
It’s not entirely certain. But almost 21% of bingo halls closed between 1995 and 2000, which meant that times were changing when it came to what players wanted from their previously beloved game.
The launch of the National Lottery in 1994 may have had an impact too. The chance to win big on what seemed like a small initial investment had its own draw.
The smoking ban that was introduced in 2006 may also have had an impact. Bingo had always appealed to an older crowd who were more likely to smoke; bingo had become interlinked with smoking as a leisure activity. When it became illegal to smoke in venues like bingo halls, the game’s popularity waned. Unlike pubs, bingo halls weren’t creating outdoor areas where people could play and smoke. Which affected the adversely.
Cheap flights abroad during the time also meant that more people were going abroad than to the traditional resorts in Britain where many bingo hall locations were based. All of these elements combined had an impact on bingo’s decline.
A welcome resurgence
Thankfully, bingo is back. The past few years have seen more people than ever enjoy bingo. One of the big reasons for this is the rise in online bingo websites like 888ladies bingo, which has meant that players can access their favourite games from the comfort of home. With so many amazing bingo providers, there’s a massive range of games that players can enjoy, with a variety of themes and styles of play to suit everyone.
The huge advances in technology have meant that bingo games played online are more exciting than ever before, with some incredible animations, graphics and sound to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.
Another big reason for the rise is the new generation of players. Bingo providers have seen the potential in the younger market and have enticed young adults, especially students, to play bingo in interesting ways. Marketing around bingo, at least at venues, gets across the message of it being a ‘night life’ event. Many venues now offer bingo nights that have included entertainment aspects and drinks offers. Bingo is seen as not just a game but a fun night out and way to socialise with friends old and new. This has attracted many new players and has seen the rise of bingo yet again, after it took a hit in the late 1990s.
It’s educational too!
Yes, really! The game of bingo can be a great way to keep your mind sharp. Many educational institutions are actually creating their own versions of bingo games to help teach students in schools. Bingo games can be used to develop language skills, for vocabulary and translation, arithmetic and so much more. These bingo games can be easily created by teachers for their students to enjoy (and learn from).
Bingo games allow for more opportunities for learning and are a great way of creating a friendly and competitive environment. As well as getting kids excited and motivated to learn. Other benefits beyond learning include encouraging social participation, relieving stress, helping to enhance memory skills and teaching the value of teamwork. Most importantly, kids really love to play it! Which makes it easier to integrate into learning and teaching practices.