How technology revolutionised one of Britain’s favourite hobbies

The game bingo has been around for centuries and is enjoyed by many people, young and old, around the world. While traditionally played in large gatherings of people, technology has recently helped to take the game online and made the game easily accessible to anyone with a PC or smartphone.

Bingo is a quintessentially a British game. While the game holds a special place in British culture alongside tea, pubs and fish and chips, it was technically founded in Italy in the 1500s. Variations of the game then made its way across Europe to France and finally to Britain sometime in the 18th century. Since then, bingo has grown hugely in popularity and become a regular, enjoyable hobby for British folk.

Although technically a form of gambling, it is often considered to be a much softer form than casino games like Poker or Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). This is due to there being less perceived risks of harmful behaviour, such as overspending.

There are many places traditionally associated with playing bingo, with the most obvious being bingo halls. Bingo halls first emerged in the UK following changes to gambling legislation in the 1960’s. When gambling became legalised and regulated, entertainment venues such as cinemas were converted into halls offering bingo as a new form of amusement. The game also started to become popular at events such as charity fundraisers, special entertainment nights in pubs and at gatherings with families and friends. It is also now very popular online. There are over 3.5 million people playing bingo online in the UK, with numbers increasing every year.

A classic bingo game has been reinvented by clubbing nights, putting a twist on bingo with a party theme to help attract a younger audience.

There is a high percentage of women players in bingo, with at least 65% of players being female. There are a few different reasons for this, including the way in which it is perceived as a more friendly, less serious form of gambling. Bingo isn’t just about winning money, for many women it is also a great opportunity to enjoy spending time with friends and put aside the stress of work and other responsibilities and have an evening out. It is this social aspect of the game that gives bingo extra appeal to women.

Playing the game is also more popular amongst older generations. Bingo halls can form important social hubs, particularly in locations with a higher elderly population. It gives locals a reason to get out of the house, participate in their community and combat loneliness.

However, the number of bingo halls has fallen into decline in recent years. At its peak, there were over 1,000 in operation around the country. This fell to 600 in 2005 and dwindled down to less than 400 by 2014. There are a number of factors that have influenced this, including taxation and economic difficulties. Yet, the most significant factor has been the rise of online bingo.

While bingo halls have declined, bingo is still a very popular pastime, it has just moved with the times.

Playing online is now more popular than ever… 

Playing online bingo is now a favourite hobby for many British people. Many online bingo sites are targeted specifically at women using feminine colour schemes and branding. However, there is also a growing number of men playing the game, as it is more widely advertised online through search engines, news sites and social media.

What makes playing online so appealing? One reason is the vast amount of choices there are in bingo operators. There are hundreds of sites out there, each with different games and special features. Many bingo sites offer virtual chat rooms, meaning that players can still enjoy the social aspect of the game as they would at a land based venue. Due to the industry now being so competitive, many websites try and entice players by offering a variety of promotions. An example of a site who offers bonuses and promotions is Wink Bingo, if you are new to playing online bingo on Wink Bingo you will be offered a variety of welcome promotions including no deposit bonuses. And for existing players loyalty points are also rewarded the more times you play.

Establishing bingo online has made it so much more accessible. Going to a bingo hall requires a mode of transport, a couple of hours of free time and additional considerations such as childcare arrangements. Due to advancements in smartphone technology, playing a game of bingo online can take place in a matter of minutes. Players can participate in a game while out and about, on their commute work or even just at home having a night in on the sofa.

Advancements in technology allowed bingo to transition online as well as become successful online.

Graphics for games have gotten increasingly more impressive and visually pleasing over the last few years and many sites have exciting themes, with creative imagery and enticing sound effects. The visual and auditory aspects of the game are essential in keeping the bingo player immersed in the game, it also helps to replicate the buzz and excitement that might be felt in a physical, land based venue.

Another great feature involved in online play is security. Bingo websites use advanced security measures and data encryption to ensure that players’ payment details remain safe and their personal details stay private. Most sites offer a variety of different payment methods for their customers’ convenience too.

Would bingo have died out without the online industry taking over? There is no definitive way to measure this. However, it is clear that technology’s influence has been essential in helping this pastime keep up with the demands of busy, modern life. Bingo remains a popular British hobby and can be enjoyed as both part of an entertaining evening out or as a quick game while on-the-go.

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