UNITED STATES—An evening in the bingo venue is one of those classic activities in Britain. Reports showed that there are under 400 bingo halls in the UK up to date. While that number represents half of the bingo halls that were opened in the country in the peak of their fame, the game of bingo still remains an incredibly popular game.

What is the story of bingo, its evolution and the future of the traditional bingo halls?

The history of bingo

The game of bingo has its roots in Italy and France. This game of chance and probability involves players marking off numbers on their cards as they’re randomly drawn by a bingo host. In order to win the game, you need to be the first to mark off all the numbers on your card. The origins of bingo take us back to Italy in 1530 and is inspired from the Italian lottery Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia. From there, the game moved to France. During the 1700’s it became famous simply as Le Lotto and was mainly played between the high-class French aristocracy. The popularity moved across Europe, first being played in Great Britain during the 18th Century. A similar game called Tombola was played in Germany. There, it was used as a tool in schools to teach and educate children everything, from math to history and spelling.

The bingo today

The early 21 century saw the traditional bingo hall rise in popularity, especially with the mature popularity. However, over the past ten years it seems that the popularity rapidly declined, as a lot of bingo venues are closing every month. Back in 2005 there were close to 700 opened bingo halls in the UK – a number that was more than halved ten years later. There are many factors that resulted in closing these bingo venues. The modernization and technology advancements of the game had an impact on its social nature. The bingo numbers can now easily be computer generated and there is no need for bingo hosts and additional equipment. Today, bingo sites like Blighty Bingo offer the comfort and convenience of the online space, something which land-based venues are currently unable to compete with. Online bingo games can be fun and interactive as playing in person, and the ease of being able to play anywhere at any time makes them even more appealing.

Of course, there’s nothing like an evening hangout in an actual bingo hall. The social factor can play a more important role than the game itself. An elderly woman has said that she has played bingo for forty years, not because of the game, but because she likes to hang out and be with her friends. Bingo was her excuse activity to go out and socialize.

Online bingo industry trends and predictions

Continuous sustainable growth is quite possible despite all obstacles this industry has to face. The presence of active online bingo sites grows and we’re expecting to see more sites open in the second half of 2020. However, with the regulations and financial legislation it’s more likely that providers have to fulfil a lot of requirements and offer the security and reliability that every player deserves.

The Bingo Association, the trade body of the industry has called on the Government to align bingo’s tax with other pursuits. On the other side, bingo halls have made an effort to attract new and diverse audiences by expanding their offering. One bingo hall made an attempt to make the venue feel more like a nightclub than a traditional hall. Changes in decoration, appearance and technology updates including terminals and machines have introduced players to a more chilled out experience with friends.

And finally, even though the number of people playing the game in a traditional format is reduced, the number of bingo players is steady and continuously growing. A report found that one in five people over 50 are regular online bingo players. With the technology advancements and improved game experience, more people enjoy playing bingo from the comfort of their home. Predictions are that this game will continue to be popular for people of all ages. As traditional venues may change to attract younger audiences and bingo sites to grow in diversity and accessibility, it’s likely that people will continue to play bingo in the years to come.