Call it the domain of the frizzy, grey-haired generation if you like, but Britain has a love affair with bingo. Ever since British soldiers, who had been playing it while they away to battle, returned with not just scars and stories of life in the trenches, but also the game of bingo, the nation has had a soft spot for the game.
Bingo really caught on in the 1950s. Then in the 1960s, the law made it legal to play bingo for money and bingo halls sprung up, fuelling its popularity even more. And why not? It’s easy to play and doesn’t require any real strategy, but even so you might still wish to go online for a few bingo tips to increase your chances of winning.
London loves a bit of bingo
If you love a bit of bingo and wish to truly indulge in your passion for the game, where else to go but to a capital city, say… maybe London?! Here it’s all going on and you’ll never be too far away from a venue to get your eyes down and look in.
Some of these halls aren’t your average bingo hall, either. They invoke a real sense of grandeur, of being part of something bigger. Here are a couple you might wish to try some day:
Buzz Bingo, Tooting — this little number is a Grade 1 listed building and, in the past, has hosted performances by The Beatles, the Rolling Stones (not to be outdone by The Fab Four, of course) and, ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ himself, Frank Sinatra.
Mecca Bingo, Camden Town — this venue used is known as a classic old-school British bingo hall. With great public transport access, this venue is open seven days a week. The bingo hall has a great atmosphere and usually fills up with regular locals from the surrounding area.
The fall of traditional bingo halls and rise of online bingo
As much as the UK’s bingo lovers may cherish getting together and mark off their cards, waiting tensely for the numbers on them to be called out, bingo has still seen its share of hard times.
Traditional halls have suffered. Some 40 years or so on from when the first bingo halls had materialised, the game had become stale. Someone needed to breathe some new life into it somehow.
Enter the World Wide Web to the rescue
Fortunately for the survival of the game, although possibly less fortunately for traditional bingo halls, the internet came to the rescue.
Entrepreneurs got wise to the possibilities the Web offered to host bingo online and the quickest to do so went swiftly to work. Before long, numerous operators had followed their lead and were all providing bingo services online. Bingo started to become cool again.
Now, just as you can play slots or casino games such as poker online, you can do the same quite easily with bingo and do so on the go. This convenience, however, not to mention some of the slick touches online bingo operators were adding to their services attracted bingo fans to the online sphere and, in particular, attracted the tech-savvy younger generation.
Hello, ironic twist!
Yet somehow, in an ironic twist, the passion for the online bingo experience may have also encourage people, young and old, back into the traditional bingo halls and to seek face-to-face bingo experiences, rather than just playing online.
Bingo is bouncing back, especially in London. In an effort to draw in the younger crowds, the city has become the host location for all sorts of wacky bingo nights!
One company, Rebel Bingo, has turned bingo into not just a game, but also something of a spectacle and added a real excitement. The bingo callers are more like MCs, rapping Eminem-style in some cases, and the experience is somewhat of a cross between a rave and a game of bingo. Young players will party, knocking back shots and generally just enjoying themselves while the numbers are called out. Nights sell out.
Be warned that, this being a somewhat edgier kind of bingo night, the language may at times get a little choice. If swearing isn’t your thing, you might want to stay away.
From the name alone, you can tell that this is no old-school bingo event. This quirky event takes place at Cattivo Bar, in Brixton, and is definitely for players who have a sense of fun. There’s plenty of dabbing and prizes and you’ll take part in musical rounds and Cards Against Humanity rounds. Highly entertaining!
The Big Bingo Show, Royal Vauxhall Tavern
This venue in Vauxhall has become something of a hit with the LGBTQ community and hosts a fabulous bingo night which is part entertainment, part bingo. The bingo rounds are entertainment themed. There’s also cabaret, singalongs and comedy. Your hosts: DJ Neil Prince and bearded drag lady Timberlina. The evening tends to take place on Mondays, so whatever blues you may have been feeling on the Sunday, they’ll have certainly disappeared after a visit to the Big Bingo Show. Britain loves bingo and, no matter what the game goes through, it always will. There may be times when it needs to go through something of a revamp or a refresh, but the passion will never truly die. In fact, the internet and newer variations of bingo have made the game cool again. Younger Brits will never feel too young for bingo now.