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The History of Bingo in the UK

The History of Bingo in the UK

Gambling has been going on for as long as humans have been able to count. Engrained in human culture somehow, the fondness of having a flutter and that simple risk and reward fun, has been going on for generations. At some point in time, the game of Bingo was founded and it has become a part of British culture in its own right with amazing bingo games sites appearing. A call and response game in some respects, the pure simplicity of the number and odds game that is Bingo, has made it a timeless spectacle that has been around for so long, it’s origins are quite unclear. Today though, it is still very popular thanks to a thriving online gambling industry which has continued to involved the classic pastime. Online casinos even have separate section of their websites and apps for those who want to play bingo and online casinos can even specialise in online bingo, not offering any other games apart from the classic gambling spectacle that we all know and love. In this history of bingo article, we will be looking back at where the game started, how it grew in the UK and how it became such a part of our popular culture. We also look at the rise and fall of the game, with best online bingo uk developments in the 21st century having a huge impact on how the game is played and enjoyed. So, get your calling card ready and listen up carefully, for this is the history of bingo in the UK. More on online bingo no deposit from our blogs below.

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Origins of Bingo

The origins of bingo can be traced back to the 16th century, specifically in Italy where a version of the game we know today was being played. Similar to the lottery in many ways, Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia was the original form of bingo, consisting of several players and several numbers. However, there is also confusion over the UK and US games of bingo which, despite appearing to be very similar, are actually different in terms of how many balls are used and how the types of calls. What you need to know is that in the UK, we operate with 90 balls in a standard game of bingo and have done since the game arrived here, it seems. A game of random chance and odds, players are given a random selection of numbers between 1 and 90. The announcer then calls out these numbers at complete random, be it through a raffle-like spinning ball or a modern, electronic system, and the first player to get all the numbers marked on their card wins. Simple, honest fun. Find great deals and free bingo games at Umbingo!

Bingo’s rise in popularity

That aforementioned simple fun became very popular in the UK and it wasn’t long after the game arrived, that people were flocking to bingo halls to play. Bingo became a great way to socialise with every town having a large bingo hall that would typically serve drinks as well as some good old fashioned gambling fun. Regulars would be able to meet up for a catch-up and a chat, providing they kept quiet during the all-important moments when the announcer would call out some numbers. You wouldn’t want to be the one told off for talking during these crucial moments, that is for certain. In a time before satellite TV and a time way before Playstations, Xbox and the internet, even, bingo was a very popular pastime for Brits up and down the country. More and more bingo halls were opened and became pillars of local communities where they stood. Up until 2005, more and more of these bingo halls were being opened all the time and at one point, there were over 600 bingo halls in the UK.

bingo hall

Truly a part of British culture by this point, the famous calls were well known and commonly slipped into conversations of many Brits. The original list of calls is as follows:

  1.  Kelly’s Eye
  2. One Little Duck
  3. Cup of Tea
  4. Knock at the Door
  5. Man Alive
  6. Tom Mix
  7. Lucky Seven
  8. Garden Gate
  9. Doctor’s Orders
  10. Cameron’s Den
  11. Legs 11
  12. One Dozen
  13. Unlucky for Some
  14. Valentine’s Day
  15. Young and Keen
  16. Sweet 16
  17. Dancing Queen
  18. Coming of Age
  19. Goodbye Teens
  20. One Score
  21. Royal Salute
  22. Two Little Ducks
  23. Thee and Me
  24. Two Dozen
  25. Duck and Dive
  26. Pick and Mix
  27. Gateway to Heaven
  28. Over Weight
  29. Rise and Shine
  30. Dirty Gertie
  31. Get Up and Run
  32. Buckle My Shoe
  33. Dirty Knee
  34. Ask for More
  35. Jump and Jive
  36. Three Dozen
  37. More than 11
  38. Christmas Cake
  39. Steps
  40. Naughty 40
  41. Time for Fun
  42. Winnie the Pooh
  43. Down on Your Knees
  44. Droopy Drawers
  45. Halfway There
  46. Up to Tricks
  47. Four and Seven
  48. Four Dozen
  49. PC
  50. Half a Century
  51. Tweak of the Thumb
  52. Danny La Rue
  53. Stuck in the Tree
  54. Clean the Floor
  55. Snakes Alive
  56. Was She Worth It?
  57. Heinz Varieties
  58. Make Them Wait
  59. Brighton Line
  60. Five Dozen
  61. Bakers Bun
  62. Turn the Screw
  63. Tickle Me 63
  64. Red Raw
  65. Old Age Pension
  66. Clickety Click
  67. Made in Heaven
  68. Saving Grace
  69. Either Way Up
  70. Three Score and 10
  71. Bang on the Drum
  72. Six Dozen
  73. Queen B
  74. Candy Store
  75. Strive and Strive
  76. Trombones
  77. Sunset Strip
  78. Heaven’s Gate
  79. One More Time
  80. Eight and Blank
  81. Stop and Run
  82. Straight On Through
  83. Time for Tea
  84. Seven Dozen
  85. Staying Alive
  86. Between the Sticks
  87. Torquay in Devon
  88. Two Fat Ladies
  89. Nearly There
  90. Top of the Shop

Online bingo 

The rise of online bingo coincided with a decline of the bingo halls of the UK, which are falling in terms of numbers. Other factors such as high tax, gambling laws and the smoking ban are all factors considered to have played a part in the struggle of the country’s bingo halls to make a profit. However, the rise of online bingo and slot games has played the biggest role. The ease of being able to play using a random number generator software, straight from a smartphone, desktop or tablet, is now the most popular way to bingo. And, thousands of Brits still play this age-old game each and every day in it’s new and exciting form. Want to learn how to play bingo, use our online bingo guide!

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