UK Bingo

The word bingo in the UK is synonymous with fun, glam and excitement. Bingo joins the ranks of a great game of football or a pint with the mates down at the local pub, as a great from of entertainment and is much loved by the British public. Over three million people regularly play bingo in close to 700 bingo clubs across the land, as well as at online at bingo sites. This number is equivalent to 8% of the entire population and is broken down to mean 10% of all women and 5% of all men in the country! Bingo is also the only gambling game that is more popular with woman than men.

There is big money to be had from the game of bingo in the country. Revenue from bingo pulls in 1.1-billion GB Pounds annually and the industry, which employs tens of thousands, continues to grow from year to year. The National Bingo Game – which is the second biggest computer controlled game in the United Kingdom – brings in millions of pounds for the government in the form of taxes.

Although it wasn’t really until the 1960s that bingo exploded onto the scene in the UK, the history of bingo dates much further back – in fact, some say that the Romans played a version of the game. The Italians developed bingo in the sixteenth century and its popularity slowly spread across Europe, until it reached the shores of the United States. In the 1920s, American toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe started to mass-produce ‘Beano’ cards and the game became an instant success.

In 1960, the UK Gambling Act was passed, effectively limiting betting games to ‘members-only’ establishments. The popularity of television at that time caused a serious shift in the English entertainment scene. For the first time in decades, dance halls and cinemas stood empty as people remained in their homes in front of the tube. In a stroke of pure genius, it was suggested to turn these empty halls into bingo-rooms and the betting scene in the UK would never be the same again. People began flocking to these glamorous locations for a night-out on the town. By the 1980s, custom-created bingo halls were being built all over the country in answer to the growing demand for these types of establishments.

In contemporary British society, bingo is the most popular group leisure activity in the country. Young people in their 20s and 30s are helping change bingo’s image as a game for the older generation to Nouveau Chic, with many flocking to up-market bingo halls in droves, wearing the latest fashions and begging to be seen!

When online gambling started up in the mid 1990s, it was only natural that bingo was one of the first games to be transferred from the land-based betting halls to the virtual world of the internet. 2003 saw the emergence of the first UK bingo sites and millions, on a regular basis, visit these online bingo halls.

With the love of bingo so firmly imprinted in the British psyche, combined with the fact that time, these days, is a precious commodity, more and more people in the UK are turning to the internet for their bingo fun. Playing online is extremely convenient. Players don’t need to rely on the opening times of their favourite bingo hall, nor do they need to drive out to a location – they can access internet bingo from the comfort of their own home at any time of the day or night.

The one reason that bingo halls are so popular in the UK is that people get to meet up with friends on a regular basis and share the excitement of playing together. Playing online bingo doesn’t mean that players need to give up on the social side of the game. Britons love their online casino chat rooms, which bring them closer to people who share their passion for the game. Chat room communities are no less important than bingo itself – in fact, online bingo wouldn’t be as popular as it is, without the intimacy of the chat rooms.

The future of gambling in the UK is heading for changes as the 2007 Gambling Act comes into effect. Both land-based and online casinos will be subject to stricter legislation, but at the same time there remains scope for greater freedom within a regulated industry. What will remain unchanged, however, is the British people’s love for the game and their desire to play it in any shape or form.

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