When you think of long-standing games, some of the oldest in the world – bingo should be top of mind. Bingo has gone from a game played with beans and crude number tables to a global online phenomenon.
So what did this online titan look like in the beginning – and how has it flourished since its inception?
History Of Bingo
Bingo has been around for over 500 years and is one of the world’s oldest and most beloved games. What is interesting about bingo is that even in its newer digital form, it holds close to the original game.
Here are a couple of things that gave us the bingo game that we know and love today:
- Originally bingo was called Il Gioco del Lotto d’ITalia in 1530
- While in France, it was referred to as Le Lotto, and by 1778 was incredibly popular
- BEANO was the 1929 form of bingo, using beans as a marker for the numbers
- 1963 a huge 14 million bingo club memberships were in action in the UK alone
The rebranding of Beano to Bingo might sound like a reach, but actually, legend has it that one person was so excited by their bingo win; instead of shouting BEANO, they yelled BINGO, and history was made. Beano traveled the globe, being played by the Royal Navy, British Army, and US Troops.
From humble beginnings to money-making titan. Here are some quick facts about bingo:
- Between 2019 and 2020, Bingo generated 910 million in the UK.
- Online bingo playing and other casino action saw a GGY* of 5.7 billion GBP.
- 1996 saw the launch of the very first online bingo site, which is a far cry from how you can play bingo online now with sites like Jackpotjoy.
*GGY is the gross casino yield, which is the money that the casino company keeps after winnings have been paid out.
Online Bingo Explosion
Initially, people were resistant to playing bingo online – after all, it had always been a social game. Most women would spend an evening ‘down the bingo’ with friends once a week, chat, play, and have fun. Over time, developers pulled off the most important features of land-based bingo into the online environment.
The calls for the bingo halls that are beloved by players, things like all the 8’s, 88, and so on, were missing. Creating bingo games that people wanted to play meant taking into consideration everything that is enjoyed. Colors, the number of calls, and the social element.
With all of that implemented, the shift from land-based bingo to online bingo started to happen. Friends could meet online or all play a game together in one house. It opened up the possibilities.
But there was more to come.
What Factors Made Online Bingo Flourish?
The bingo world was taken by storm when these factors came into play. It was already being enjoyed by many players at this point, but online bingo companies recognized that to remain competitive, they needed to offer more to their players.
You name a type of bingo, and you can find it online. From speed bingo to 90 balls and everything in between, there are bingo games to suit every type of player – including those who have only ever played online. Here are a couple of the online options that have people signing up and playing regularly:
- 1-2c or pence lines
- High-roller games for those who like to spend out on their bingo time
- Themed games like Rainbow Riches
- National games and global games with progressive jackpots
- Private VIP games
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a game that isn’t available via mobile these days. Bingo is one of the games that made a move from land-based to online via PC to mobile compatibility well.
Mobile compatibility means that no matter where you are, you can play – making commutes and waiting times less boring. All of your favorite bingo games are available online within seconds.
Who doesn’t love something that is free? Every day there are websites that offer free bingo sessions, and some of them have rooms that are always free too. Sometimes the free rooms are only open for short periods of the day, though. Some aren’t directly free. Instead, there will be perks and bonuses that mean the game is free or dramatically reduced in price.
Here are some of the perks and bonuses that make online bingo even more attractive:
- Bonus codes and promotional games
- VIP bingo games that are cheaper or free for regular players
- Free spins on slots and scratch cards during play
- Cashback options
- Birthday and Festive period gifts
- Promos that require a small spend but offer free cards
- Loyalty programs where players can stack up their play points and buy bingo tickets
With just those factors in play, people’s access to high-speed internet bingo moved naturally from those early church hall games to dedicated bingo halls to mobile phones. You can find it online no matter what type of bingo you like to play.
Bingo is now more popular than it has ever been; with its audience growing every day, it is unlikely that that 500 years of history is going anywhere. It is likely that as technology progresses and the implementation of VR becomes more integrated into the gaming experience, bingo will see new levels of popularity in the next few years.