Bingo has been a popular game in the UK for decades, but the 1960s saw a huge increase in the number of people playing. Although people had been playing the game for fun at fairs and carnivals since the 1920s, it was a piece of legislation that made it one of Britain’s favourite pastimes.
When the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 came into force in January 1961, it meant that large cash prizes could now be offered legally. This made bingo a much more exciting prospect and Eric Morley, who had already found fame as a TV host and founder of the Miss World pageant, saw an opportunity to capitalise on the enthusiasm for the fun.
He already owned a chain of dance halls, including the Lyceum Ballroom, and he decided to make the most of the change of law to offer this as well. His reasoning was sound, and the combination of dance and this was not only popular at the time but has had a recent resurgence. We now see a surge in entertaining themes evoked by technology being incorporated into this thing, hence why websites like CostaBingo are now extremely popular.
He started by introducing bingo into 60 of his establishments and other providers followed suit until there were hundreds of halls all over the country. The game was an instant hit, particularly among women who appreciated the chance to enjoy a night out with friends that included a chance to win a large cash prize.
Bingo goes online
Bingo adapted to new technology early, with the introduction of video games and the use of touchscreen technology in land based halls almost as soon as they were available. With so many people working to keep the game current, it’s no surprise that it was one of the first games to appear online when the internet began to become more ubiquitous.
Early versions earned fans in the very first days of the internet, and it wasn’t long before online bingo had gained a big following. Those who played the game on their computers weren’t just fans of the traditional game, but it also started to attract a number of new players that were already fans of other forms of online gaming.
The development of apps saw the number of people playing online rise again, making this one of the most popular online games in recent years. The love affair between the nation’s youth and their smartphones has worked in bingo’s favour as gaming apps have generated significant interest among younger people.
The popularity of bingo apps
Talented designers and developers have made this apps slick and appealing with engaging gameplay and a host of themed options. They have been designed with their users in mind, including simpler controls to make games easier for those playing on mobile devices, and easy to play games for those who might be new to playing.
In turn, this has sparked a new enthusiasm for bingo nights among those who may never have had the chance to attend a bingo hall during the game’s heyday. Having played online, many younger fans wanted to indulge themselves in the real thing, and bingo nights became a popular choice among younger players.
More than a quarter of online bingo players are aged between 25 and 34, so these nights combined some of the near-forgotten traditions of bingo’s original incarnation with a night out to rival any other. With music, dancing and a few drinks, the perception of bingo has changed significantly since the days when it was mostly the older generation frequenting the land based halls.
Another phase of innovation
Once again, the fun of playing bingo has given it a new lease of life for the next generation and it’s becoming a popular way for people to get together with friends and combine all their favourite things. In the same way that the game went from a physical game to a digital one, it has now become a hybrid game with fans playing in both, and the two versions cross-pollinating one another.
The popularity of these dance nights has inspired a new wave of games such as disco bingo games that combine dancing and bingo in a fun online. Gone are traditional cards and instead players search for different bingo lingo terms, such as names of disco hits, popular music terminology, bands, and any other disco related terms.
Players are encouraged to use their knowledge of both bingo and disco to cross off as many disco-related terms as possible. Players are encouraged to dance along as they play, enjoying the themed games with all the various paraphernalia that disco entails.
People can play at disco bingo parties, but most join games online where they can bust all the moves they want without having to worry about how to get home in their glittery platforms. Younger players enjoy the interactive nature of the game and many host parties so that they can enjoy the fun with their friends and have the best of both worlds.
For an inherently simple game, bingo has been through a number of incarnations, making the most of every opportunity to change and adapt to suit the next generation of players. Party themed games and the combination of on- and off-line gaming is simply the next step in the game’s journey to maintain its position as one of the most popular games in the world.