Bingo is one of the most popular games in the world, and while you might not go to the local bingo hall to play these days, there are so many online bingo sites and games that you can play from the comfort of your own home.
In 2022, the online bingo industry was valued at just over $1 billion, and by 2032, it is projected to grow to $1.9 billion. The UK gambling market is growing in the same way, and bingo accounted for 4% of the Global Gambling Yield (GGY) for the 2021–2022 financial year.
Before we look at why bingo is growing so quickly, let’s take a brief look at the history of the game and where it came from.
The History of Bingo
The earliest roots of bingo came from Europe. In 1530, the Giucco del Lotto d’Italia (the Italian lottery) started and soon spread to other countries on the continent and even further afield. When immigration to the Americas started, the game traveled there too and was a feature at fairs across the country.
It was when a New York toy salesman called Edwin S. Lowe was visiting a Jacksonville fair that he was introduced to the game. He enjoyed it so much that he brought it home to play with his friends. Using his knowledge and experience, he soon packaged the game to be sold to the public under the name Beano in 1929. Around the same time, people in the UK were playing a game called Housey Housey, which was based on the same premise.
The game of bingo really took off in the UK following the Betting and Gaming Act of 1961. This effectively legalized large cash prizes, making bingo a game that could now be played for big jackpots—and that spawned several companies that created bingo halls, like Mecca Bingo and Gala Bingo.
Bingo quickly became a game of socializing and fun, with players gathering in the bingo halls for conversation and the opportunity to win real money—the perfect combination for the UK audience.
With the advent of the internet, innovations in smartphones, and the prevalence of Wi-Fi and data, players can get online and play bingo from their homes while waiting for the bus, or wherever is more convenient for them.
Why is bingo so popular?
The excitement of playing a game where real money can be won is part of what makes playing bingo entertaining.
With online bingo, you can buy several cards and wait with bated breath as the balls are called, hoping to get a winning combination before the other players in the room.
It has never been easier to get online and play bingo. Once you have found your preferred site (like Jackpot Joy), setting up an account takes a matter of moments, and you can fund your account using a card, directly from your bank account, or even using eWallets like PayPal.
Online bingo can be played on your PC or laptop, and thanks to seamless integrations, you can also play on your smartphone (more on this later).
Although free bingo games are available, it is the games where the possibility of winning the super jackpot really gets the adrenaline flowing.
Some games offer different prizes for certain combinations; in 90-ball bingo, which is the norm for most UK online bingo sites, you might get a prize for one line, a bigger prize for marking off two lines, and the biggest prize for getting all numbers (a full house).
Other prizes are available, too.
Physical bingo halls are all about meeting up with friends and having a giggle, and that carries over into the online bingo world. While you might not be face to face, you can start conversations using the chat box functions, and develop a circle of online friends to share the bingo excitement with.
As technology advances, innovation in graphics, audio, connectivity, and hardware are filtered through to the online bingo world (as well as other online games). This means that even the simplest bingo game will have the latest graphics and animations, the sites are more secure so you can trust them with your money, and the games are much more fun to play.
This last point is possibly the most important. Going to the bingo hall might have been a good excuse for a night out, but the main draw of playing bingo online is that you can just stay at home and play from your bedroom or your kitchen. No need to even get dressed if you don’t want to – just log on and buy your tickets.
Smartphones have allowed even more convenience to be a part of the game. Every online bingo site worth its salt has a native app for Android and iPhone, and thanks to the widespread reach of 5G, we can now play online almost wherever we are – from the top of a mountain in Wales to the middle of London waiting for a bus.