Wherever you live in the world, you will be familiar with bingo-style games – they are everywhere. Most modern lotteries and scratch card titles can trace their origins back to the very first bingo game that was played in Italy in the early 16th century.
The Gioco del Lotto d’Italia first appeared around 1530 and was almost identical to the version of bingo we know today. Players would mark off numbers on a ticket as they were called out at random to form a winning line or set. This simple concept was first exported to France and then made its way to Great Britain and the rest of Europe in the 18th-century.
The early heydays
The game was popular within the British military during the First World War where it was known as Tombola, House or Housey – as recalled here: https://www.iwm.org.uk. At some point in the 1920s, the name ‘bingo’ began to be used. It is thought that the name came from a mispronunciation of the American version of the game called Beano which popped up in the 1920s. Later, the game started to appear in working men’s clubs in the UK where winners would shout “House” or “Housey-Housey” when they hit a winning combination. In fact, even after the term bingo appeared, many UK players still referred to the game as Housey-Housey. Bingo callers also started using amusing terms when announcing the balls such as “two little ducks” for number 22.
Bingo was hugely popular among the post-Second World War generation but younger players were not so convinced by the merits of the activity. As a result, during the 1970s and 1980s, the bingo halls of the UK became known as entertainment spots for older people. This stereotype remained in place for many years until bingo halls started to enjoy a revival in the 1990s.
The online revolution
The next big boost for casinos came with the launch of online casinos, when many traditional games were made available to new audiences. As well as offering traditional titles such as roulette, blackjack, and baccarat, online casinos also featured bingo games, scratch cards, and slot machines.
Today’s players have more choice than ever. For example, for online bingo click here: https://bingo.betfair.com/, to discover a huge choice of games starting every few minutes as well as links to casino games, poker slots and sports betting options. Arguably, bingo has become popular with adult players of all ages and is no longer seen as a pastime of the elderly generations
Despite the game’s global success, Bingo game developers have not forgotten the roots of the game. The word Housey still pops up in titles such as Housey Bingo alongside more modern themes titles like Rainbow Riches and Deal or No Deal. There are 75, 80, and 90 number options available, and prizes may be awarded for completing lines or a full house.
As well as thriving online, bingo has also enjoyed a revival on the cultural nightlife scene where it has joined the likes of escape rooms and axe-throwing as one of the new ways to enjoy a night out, as reported here: https://www.theguardian.com.
Bingo is a simple game that anyone can play, so it is no wonder that it has stood the test of time and is still a beloved entertainment option almost 500 years after it first appeared.