Bingo has been a popular choice among gamers for centuries since it was first played in 16th century Italy. Going by the slightly less catchy name of ‘Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia’, it caught on quickly and soon spread throughout the country before crossing the border into France and then crossing the channel to the UK.
It was in the UK that bingo really took hold, becoming a near-instant hit in the 18th century as players gathered to enjoy a game that combines luck, experience, and speed.
From its early days as a rudimentary game of chance to its current incarnation in the form of online bingo, the appeal of the game has always attracted new players,
This is partly because even those that have never played before can pick up the game instantly and, if their number come up, they will win. However, those that have been playing for a while will have developed tricks and techniques that enable them to play more than one card at a time and spot potentially winning patterns easily.
Bingo gained in popularity throughout the decades until it was finally given a boost in 1961, when the introduction of the Betting and Gaming Act came into force on New Year’s Day. This change in legislation legalised larger cash prizes to be awarded to bingo winners, turning it from a fun pastime into a potentially lucrative hobby and its appeal was boosted overnight.
The rise of bingo halls
While people may not know Eric Morely’s name, many will have seen how his vision changed the face of entertainment in the UK for decades. Already the owner of a string of dance-halls, he decided to introduce bingo into his existing venues as a way to capitalise on the change in the law.
Bingo went from being a game played in village halls and at events such as fairs and fetes, to becoming a mainstream activity that attracted players in their hundreds to town centres and popular entertainment venues. Cinemas also embraced the craze for bingo, hosting games alongside the most popular films of the day to offer players a night of all-round entertainment.
Bingo offered a great opportunity to socialise with new players as the rules are easy enough to pick up quickly. This was one of the reasons that bingo was so easy to digitise when the video gaming revolution came about, and video bingo was offered alongside its traditional counterpart in bingo halls throughout the country.
How to play bingo
The rules of bingo are the same in any format, from the oldest cards to the latest online games, so players can easily transition between the two. The premise is simple – to match the numbers chosen at random to those on a bingo card, but there are a number of ways to win, including:
- Five in a row
- Four corners
- Inside corners
- Inside diamond
- Outside diamond
- Full house
Some bingo games have custom patterns for winning players, from letters or numbers to images and symbols and the variety available in online bingo often reflects the theme of the game itself.
Many of the tips for winning at online bingo are variations of those that set players up for success in the traditional game as well. These include:
Pick your time – in some games, the number of players will increase the size of the jackpot, but the more players there are, the more competitive it is and so the less chance of winning. Avoiding peak times such as evenings and weekends can make it easier to increase your chances of winning.
Choose your site carefully – any time you play a game online, you need to ensure that the site you are on is licensed and legitimate, but there are also some other things to look out for. Seek out recommendations from friends, sites that have good reviews or use a comparison site to find exactly the combination of features that you prefer.
Look out for special offers – many sites have special offers to encourage new players to sign up, so take advantage of these where possible. You can get welcome bonuses, deposit bonuses, special games for seasonal and special occasion offers as well as loyalty and referral bonuses.
Check out the site’s features – most players will want to play with more than one card to maximise their chances of winning. However, it can be hard to keep track of the numbers on multiple cards, so check whether the site you’re playing on offers an auto-dab feature that will mark off numbers for you to ensure that you never miss one.
Join the community – anyone that wants to start playing online bingo can make the most of the online communities that have built up to offer support and the chance to chat about the game. Some sites have their own communities with targeted tips and advice, plus advance warning of special offers and there are more general groups where players can discuss their tactics and strategies.
Whether you have played bingo before or are a complete newcomer to the game, online bingo provides the perfect combination of fun and camaraderie. You can play at your own convenience at a time that suits you, and if you want to play with friends then you can all get together virtually and share the joy from wherever you happen to be.