Being Social With Online Bingo
The Evolution of Bingo
Like any great invention, the game of bingo had to come from somewhere – although the path to it’s current guise has taken in many twists and turns across most of the Western World. From charity games through to beans through to online bingo and a startling use of technology along the way, the evolution of bingo started long before smoky seaside clubs, and also boasts an impressive amount of reincarnations, both in Europe and America.
The Italian Job
Originally, bingo began as a lottery type game in 16th century Italy. “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia” was started in 1530 as a charity type game, and the game still remains popular with a similar version played every Saturday in Italy. Travelers from Italy eventually brought their beloved number game to France in the 1770′s, where bingo became a popular pastime amongst the many French aristocrats. “Le Lotto” as it was known was about as upper class as Marie Antoinette’s insistence on eating cake, although perhaps unsurprisingly, the game did not meet the guillotine in the
same way in the 1800′s.
A European Education
Following it’s success in the wealthy circles of France, the game received an educational twist when it landed in Germany. Bingo style games were popular in 19th century German classrooms, with students encouraged to learn everything from math to spelling and history via special grids that they would fill out. The idea of bingo games carrying an educational function still pervades plenty of classrooms today, with spelling bingo games still popular amongst students of all ages. And whilst Germany began to toy with the idea of education and bingo, the game
itself was soon to head over to the United States, where it became further transformed and renewed as a fairground attraction at a growing number of country fairs.
Beano or Bingo?!
The popularity of the carnival in the early 20th Century certainly helped bingo spread around the United States quickly, with the first game reportedly held at a carnival in Atlanta, Georgia. In it’s first few years in America, the game was known as beano due to the beans used to mark players cards in the game. But by the time it
had reached the ears of New York toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe, the name of the game was about to change. Lowe apparently misheard a lucky player shouting “bingo” for “beano”, leading to the game’s final name change that we know today. Lowe’s love of the game certainly contributed to the continuing popularity of the game, with the toy salesman one of the original bingo marketers. Determined to make the game bigger and better, he enlisted the services of Prof. Carl Leffler, who was then a Columbia University mathematician. In the few years they worked together,
Leffler helped Lowe invent 6,000 different bingo card combinations according to American Bingo rules – and perhaps understandably, ended up insane as a result of his bingo obsession.
Although Lowe was determined to make bingo a commercial success, it was through it’s charitable roots that bingo really became popular on a mass market level. Lowe began working with a Pennsylvania Catholic Priest, who used the game to raise church funds. In the space of a few years, bingo had gone from a fairground attraction to a
weekly charitable staple, with some 10,000 weekly games arranged nationwide.
A transatlantic success
And whilst bingo began to take off in America, across the pond, things were developing similarly in the UK. Fans of the game will know that US and UK style bingo games have a few differences between them in the way they are played – but both were equally popular in their own right. Bingo halls began to spring up in seaside resorts during the heyday of UK based stay cations, with community centers and churches also making use of the game to connect players and raise money for worthy causes. For a long time, land based bingo had a popular reputation in the UK, with a loyal and gentile elderly fan base.
Up in smoke
A series of thorns in the crown of bingo meant the game began to dwindle in the latter part of the 20th Century. The introduction of the smoking ban and a series of taxation and regulatory changes meant around one third of UK based offline bingo clubs were forced to close their doors by 2007. The game had developed a reputation as a staple of the blue rinse brigade, with players put off by the image of early morning and matinee sessions in clubs with little to offer a younger, more tech-savvy generation. Yet despite the turmoil, bingo clubs are still managing to stay open in the face of the numerous recessions and adverse financial mishaps of the 21st century, with some success stories able to create fun updates for a new generation of bingo players. In addition, offline bingo has also received a retro seal of approval, with underground bingo sessions, drag bingo and late night bingo parties offering something a little
different for potential players.
Switching On to the Internet
Running alongside the decline of land-based bingo was the dawn of online and internet bingo. Switching onto the online gaming trend came easily for the game of bingo, with the US again leading the charge. The first online bingo game was launched via a site called Bingo Zone in 1996, which offered free bingo games in return for players demographic information. The online version has perpetuated many forms of the game, with everything from
traditional 75-ball bingo and 90-ball bingo through to card based bingo games, instant win bingo games and an increasing array of big money jackpots. Trends for free bingo games no deposit games have meant huge numbers of sign ups for certain bingo sites, with an estimated 500 bingo sites in the UK alone. Demographics show the majority of online bingo players are under the age of 46 and female, largely rebuffing the stereotypes of yesteryear.
Technological leaps and bounds
And since the inclusion of online gaming technology, the game of bingo has incorporated plenty of the latest tech trends, with everything from chat rooms to social networks to video chatting now available online beside the usual bingo balls and calls. With such rapid growth has also come rapid expansion, with many online bingo sites now operating in the midst of large gambling networks. Only 13% of bingo sites are running on in house developed software, with the largest network – Dragon fish – reported to power over 100 bingo sites. Reports suggest mobile gaming will be the next big thing, with the online bingo industry predicted to grow from over $1 billion dollars to a multi-billion dollar industry in the next few years. From one little village in Italy through to the technological brave new world of online bingo, it has been a full ride for the full house.
Author: Charlie is a guest contributor from www.onlinebingofinder.co.uk, a bingo site with a difference! Online Bingo Finder is where you can search 1000′s of live Bingo Rooms, find trusted Bingo Reviews, and Bingo offers that are updated daily.