Few gambling games boast an enduring presence quite like the game we call bingo. According to legend, bingo is actually an offshoot of an age-old lottery game in Italy, known as Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia. This chance-based game was popular in the 1500s, later moving to other European countries like France in the 1700s, where it went by the name of Le Lotto. As one might expect, this centuries-old gambling game was originally the staple of the well-heeled; aristocracy, nobility, and even royalty.

The original bingo-style game played in France underwent several changes as the game was introduced to other European countries, like Germany in the 19th-century. One of the earliest forms of bingo showcased a 9 x 3 grid format and 27 squares. This 90-ball bingo game featured numbers 1 through 90, in a random fashion. Indeed, it is this selfsame bingo variant which remains today, albeit in a slightly different format. Back then, the chosen bingo caller would select wooden bingo numbers at random from a container or a drum. The bingo host picked numbers, one at a time, announcing them to players in succession.

Then, and today, bingo players who match called numbers with numbers on their bingo cards covered them up. Depending on the rules of play, the winner is determined by the player who first completes a combination. This can include horizontal lines, vertical lines, diagonal lines, shapes, patterns, and the like. The player who completed a winning pattern first and called out BINGO! would be checked before verified a winner. Much the same is true today at land-based bingo halls. Bingo’s big break came in the 1920s when it migrated across the Atlantic Ocean and made its way into the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!

When bingo arrived on American soil, it soon became known as Beano. A toymaker by the name of Edwin Lowe was having a grand old time at the Georgian Carnival when he happened upon a group of folks playing Beano. As its namesake suggests, beans were used to cover called numbers that matched numbers on a player’s card. The toymaker was intrigued by the runaway success of Beano that he cut short his trip in Georgia and made a beeline for New York, his home state. There he created his own variant of this popular, chance-based game. He used a rubberstamp, desiccated beans, and cardboard. Such was the popularity of this board game among his friends, that it quickly blossomed into the world-famous wunderkind that we know today.

The word Bingo actually came about from the esteemed toymaker Edwin Lowe, and his friends. Rumor has it that one of the participants in a game was so enthralled about forming a winning combination that he yelled out, ‘Bingo!’ rather than the traditional ‘Beano’. Barely 2 decades later, in the 1940s, the game was enjoying unprecedented success across the United States. But bingo’s hurrah was yet to come… the game’s transatlantic journey back to Europe was met with tremendous fanfare when it arrived in the United Kingdom. This occurred during the swinging 60s – an era of unprecedented love, happiness, and ‘feel good’ times. Would you believe that some 3 million+ players across the United Kingdom now enjoy bingo online, or in person.

Let’s check out how technology hastened bingo’s dramatic popularity over the past 100 years. It’s going to be a rollercoaster ride as we introduce you to all the advances that made Kelly’s Eye, One Little Duck, Garden Gate, Valentine’s Day, Dancing Queen, Rise and Shine, Christmas Cake, Straight on Through, Between the Sticks, and Top of the Shop options a reality for an estimated 100 million+ players around the world. The fascinating history of bingo is as much a study about a game as it is about anthropology. Bingo is part and parcel of our cultural zeitgeist; an entertainment ensemble designed to titillate the senses, and rouse our spirits. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible advances in bingo through technology.

How Technology Has Shaped the Bingo Evolution

From rudimentary, mechanical-style devices to cutting-edge digital innovations, the game of bingo is no stranger to advancement. Nowadays, we tend to view traditional drums, or baskets as archaic in terms of how we use them to select bingo numbers. Much the same can be said for physical bingo cards printed out on sheets of paper, or boards. Land-based bingo remains the domain of tactile bingo gaming.

We can see the cards, touch the cards, hold the cards, and even smell the cards. We get to hold bingo daubers in our hands, or circular chips, as we mark the called bingo numbers on our cards. Otherwise known as dabbers, there is something quite appealing about holding a bingo marker in your hands, and dabbing the bingo numbers on your paper bingo cards. You get to choose the color of the ink you want to play with, and make wet, splotchy markings on your cards until you have formed a winning combination.

But land-based bingo has not been without dramatic advancements. Consider that today’s land-based bingo venues also use digital renderings of bingo cards with randomly generated bingo numbers courtesy of sophisticated computing devices. It’s true! Just because you’re sitting at a bricks and mortar bingo room doesn’t mean that technology is far away. In fact, across Britain, you’re likely to encounter high-octane, technologically advanced bingo suitable for the modern age.

A great many bingo rooms still like to dispense paper bingo cards to players, in addition to providing bingo daubers for sale. These types of accoutrements are readily available at informal gatherings of bingo such as community bingo at the clubhouse, or bingo raffles at the church, or Sunday bingo games with friends. But if you’re frequenting an established bingo hall in the United Kingdom, expect a major upgrade on your bingo game.

Here in the UK, there are hundreds of land-based bingo venues – a testament to the burgeoning popularity of this gambling game. It’s the social aspect of bingo that drives its success. Whether you’re sitting with friends, family, and strangers playing bingo at home or on the go, bingo really is the world’s most popular social gambling game. According to reports from the GBGC, 2018 online bingo and online casino revenues topped out at £3 billion, with a big chunk of that coming from land-based bingo.

Now, let’s kickstart the technology engine as we check out how online bingo has leapfrogged land-based bingo as the fastest-growing bingo medium.

The Online Bingo Boom – A Success Story of Note

Consider the following bingo statistic: Between April 2019 and May 2020, traditional bingo rooms and online bingo rooms generated Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) of £910 million in the UK alone. Now, from that figure, some £635.9 million was generated at land-based bingo, with live bingo games. The balance – £275 million – was generated by online bingo rooms in the UK. Trends reflect that the growth of online bingo is rapidly outpacing that of land-based bingo gaming. During this period in question, bricks and mortar bingo halls and casinos witnessed a 5.7% decline in total wagers, while online casinos and online bingo rooms enjoyed a 0.9% uptick.

There is a direct link between these numbers and technology. Were it not for the technology, computer systems, software, and Internet accessibility, online bingo would not be as dominant as it is. The shift to electronic bingo, digital bingo, and mobile bingo has been nothing short of groundbreaking. Today, it’s entirely possible to register at an online bingo room and play 75 ball bingo, 80 ball bingo, or 90 ball bingo on PC, Mac, or mobile. Internet-based bingo games coupled with exceptional HTML 5 functionality are the X factor in the gaming arena.

The developed world, and the developing world alike, are shifting towards personalized entertainment. While the social element of bricks and mortar bingo games certainly remains intact, more is wanted. There is something innately alluring about being able to play from the comfort of anywhere you want, anytime you want. Beyond comfort and convenience, online bingo also offers another major benefit to players by dint of the technology – cost effectiveness. Believe it or not, when you play bingo games online you are getting the level-best prices for your bingo games. As a new player or a seasoned bingo head, you can enjoy free bingo games online, penny bingo games, and BOGOF bingo games too.

One would be hard pressed to find comparable offerings at land-based bingo venues. Nowadays, reservations are required at the top bricks and mortar bingo clubs, and they cost a pretty penny too. The beauty of licensed bingo rooms lies in the numbers. There are huge numbers of players that can login from anywhere in a regulated jurisdiction at the same time. This increased player capacity also allows for boosted payout potential, particularly with progressive jackpot bingo games. When you play online bingo, the servers can accommodate thousands of players at any given time – it’s the equivalent of a bingo stadium filled with players. Except, everyone is comfortably situated, enjoying bingo on mobile devices, desktop or MacBook.

Technology Makes Online Bingo the Safer Alternative

SSL encryption technology (secure socket layer), ID verification, account validation, and multifactor authentication are but a few of the many security protocols in effect with online bingo rooms. From that perspective, it is 100% safe and secure to play bingo games online at licensed operators. Of course, due diligence is still required to ensure that your username/password combination doesn’t get leaked, or hacked. It’s important to keep your computer/gaming device updated with the latest software to remove any risk of hacks from your account.

From a physical safety perspective, online bingo has proven to be a winner. Since you don’t need to gather in crowds to play bingo games online, there’s no risk of bacterial or viral infection. From this perspective, technology has certainly paved the way for the runaway popularity of online bingo games. The caveat is that we are only as safe as the protocols we follow. Stay up-to-date with your antivirus software, adware blockers, malware protection programs et cetera. Always play online bingo games at fully licensed regulators – they value their players and their operations.

Everyone Wants to Get on the Online Bingo Train

We already know that software developers are able to conjure up new and improved versions of bingo games, slots games, and instant win games at leading online bingo rooms. These games are ironclad secure, and many of them are available to players at affordable rates from as little as a penny a pop. Reference has been made to the tech-driven renaissance of bingo and the gaming industry in general.

Much of the change that has taken place is bringing about a rebirth for the game of bingo – and technology has helped to shape their change. Since the younger generation is into the technological advancements taking place, marketers have been able to rebrand bingo and make it attractive to online players. Facebook bingo games are a case in point. Although they are free games, they are hugely popular.

The cultural reawakening vis-a-vis online bingo is drawing scores of players to the gaming arena. In the days of old, 75 ball bingo and 90 ball bingo games reigned supreme. Today, we’ve got so many more bingo games to play such as Roulette Bingo, Fast Fives Bingo, 80 Ball Bingo, Progressive Jackpot Bingo, Swedish Bingo, and scores more. Bingo is being bundled together with other online casino games to great effect.

Today, you won’t find an online bingo room that offers just bingo games to its players – it’s always instant win games like slots, slingo, blackjack, roulette, scratchcards, and others too. More than ever, today’s bingo player is a social animal. We are all into multiplayer gaming and social gaming-style entertainment. That’s precisely what bingo offers with its immersive gameplay, chat room functionality, and mobile-inspired gaming systems.

The tech evolution has even conjured up virtual reality bingo games which are fast coming into their own. Sophisticated headsets are now being developed, allowing players to interact with the gaming realm as if they are physically there in person. There are endless possibilities ahead of us, and the future of online bingo is only getting started. Imagine being able to play bingo at the Eiffel Tower, from the comforts of home?

Or perhaps playing space-game bingo on the moon, or on Mars, with a virtual reality helmet? These are but some of the many out-of-this-world innovations that are coming to the online bingo gaming arena. We know just how popular blockchain-based systems are for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Stellar, but did you know that blockchain-based bingo is shoring up the financial security of online bingo rooms for players and operators alike. Now, borderless bingo without licensing or regulation is possible.

Looking into the crystal ball, we can safely say that the best is yet to come for online bingo. Already, this centuries-old gambling game has evolved at a rate of knots. The widespread democratization of bingo from the aristocracy to the masses has fueled a massive and unprecedented interest in the game. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess – let your imagination run wild!