Over the years, bingo has been a big part of society in the UK. Millions of people used to flock to local bingo halls every week, in the hope of matching a line or a full house. For many people, bingo was also a social occasion; a chance to meet friends and catch up on the gossip. The game was at the height of its powers in 1963 when an incredible 14 million people participated.
However, the golden age of bingo began to wane. Several things came together to cause the decline, including the smoking ban and a failure by bingo operators to change with the times. Bingo was stuck in the 1960s and the rest of life had moved on. This all changed in the late 1990s when bingo sites first appeared online. By 2000, the trend for online bingo was growing and today brands like Unibet give people the opportunity to play numerous bingo games without ever having to leave home. It’s interesting to take a closer look at the rise, fall, and rise again of this favourite UK pastime.
Bingo – the First Time Around
There are many stories about the origins of bingo, including that an early version was played in Italy centuries ago. The game was often played as a way of fundraising in the UK. It was popular at fetes and galas. This changed when the Betting and Gambling Act was passed in 1960 and the face of gambling in the country was completely revolutionised.
The fact that bingo was already popular meant that it was easy to get people interested in a version that gave them the opportunity to win cash and prizes. Bingo halls were opened all over the country and by 1963 millions of people were heading to these halls every week.
Good times started to turn sour for bingo as the world moved away from this type of tradition. Halls started to close, and people started to lose their love for the game.
The Rise of Online Bingo
The Internet was a massive boost for many industries and gambling was one of them. This included the rise of bingo in the online world. By the time 2010 came around, hundreds of online bingo sites existed globally. The game was given a brand-new lease of life. People could play from the comfort of their own home and still get the excitement of the traditional game.
Online bingo also gives people the opportunity to interact socially as they did in bingo halls. The experience is not quite the same, but bingo rooms have hosts that welcome players and moderate chat between people playing the game.
So, many of the old traditions are still in place and they have been joined by new advantages such as mobile-friendly websites and apps that allow players to enjoy the games wherever they are. Many games also run through the night as well as all day, so players can join in whenever they choose to.
Bingo is not back to the heights it reached in the 1960s, but the Internet has definitely helped it to rise again. Around 3.5 million people in the UK play bingo online. Some of the big online providers also still run bingo halls. There are nowhere near as many as in the past, but some continue to be popular thanks to tie ins with online play and large linked prizes. It seems as though this popular game is going strong again in the UK.