Where in the world do they play bingo? Everywhere, that’s where! In the United Kingdom there are dozens of bingo halls up and down the country, and there are also plenty of bingo lovers spread all over the globe. If you want an evening of supreme entertainment with the chance of winning cash prizes and other bonuses thrown in, then you need to get yourself down to your nearest bingo hall, pronto!
Here at Bonus.co.uk we have put together what we think is the number one bingo resource for fans of the ball-drawing game. There is a lot of emphasis upon online bingo these days, but people still love to play bingo ‘for real’ too! This section of the site will give you all the knowledge you need to find your nearest bingo destination and for you and your bingo besties to have an absolute bingo blast.
Top searched local bingo brands
The Story of Bingo
Bingo historians claim that bingo sprang into life in Italy, and while that may be true, it is not the first recorded instance of the game. For that, we have to go back to 1838 when an Englishman was travelling in Mexico and discovered a game called ‘La Lotteria’, which was practically identical to the version of 90-ball bingo that we all know and love today.
Bingo was also popular around the same time with British Naval Forces who brought the game onboard from Malta. It was then called ‘Tombola’ but when the game spread among British Soldiers they decided to call it ‘Housey-Housey’ because in the UK it was the tradition to shout ‘House!’ when you completed your card.
Why Bingo is Called ‘Bingo’?
In the USA they needed an alternative to ‘House’ as ‘House’ was short for ‘Full House’ which was already a poker term, and a baseball term for when the hitter is on two strikes and three balls. Americans – who of course have to do everything differently to the rest of the world – decided to use ‘Beano!’ instead. Of course in the UK that’s the name of a popular children’s comic, so in the UK the triumphant shout of ‘House!’ remained.
So, how come ‘Beano!’ changed to ‘Bingo?’. For that we have to believe the word of one Edwin S. Lowe, who produced the world’s first ever bingo tickets. He claimed to have discovered bingo at a country fair in Georgia in 1929. The game was called ‘Beano’ as dried beans were used to cover the numbers on marked cards as they were called. One lady winner in her excitement shouted ‘Bingo!’ instead of ‘Beano!’ and Mr Lowe decided he liked the name ‘Bingo’ more, and so it stuck.
Bingo became popular in the UK in the 1950s and soon every town in the country had at least one bingo hall. That number peaked in the 1960s but has dwindled ever since. However, there are signs in the 2020s that bingo is making a definite comeback!
The Big Bingo Businesses in the UK
While they used to be plenty of independent bingo clubs in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s, that is very much no longer the case. These days, the biggest bingo clubs are run by a small number of companies, as follows.
Mecca Bingo is probably the largest operator of bingo clubs in the UK, with nearly 90 bingo clubs up and down the length of the UK. The company opened its first bingo club in Maidenhead in 1961, and became so popular that it was soon opening bingo clubs everywhere in the UK.
In 1990 Mecca Bingo was snapped up by the Rank Organisation (now called The Rank Group) who at the time were a leading producer of motion pictures. Mecca is still owned by The Rank Group.
If you know your real-world UK bingo, then you were probably expecting the second name on this short list to be Gala Bingo. Well, you’ve not kept up to date as Gala Bingo is now online only! In 2018 Gala Bingo sold all its bingo clubs to a company called Caledonia Investments. Caledonia decided to drop the Gala Bingo name and rebrand all the clubs as ‘Buzz Bingo’.
Buzz Bingo was already an online entity, so it the rebranding did make sense. There are now over one hundred Buzz Bingo clubs all over the UK.
Other Bingo Club Providers
The other main bingo club providers in the UK are:
- Club 3000 Bingo (15 clubs)
- Carlton Bingo (11 clubs)
- Castle Bingo (11 clubs)
- Beacon Bingo (6 clubs)
- Crown Bingo (4 clubs)
- BJ’s Bingo (3 clubs)
There are a few other independent clubs dotted up and down the United Kingdom.
If your attitude to bingo is ‘no way, Jose’, then you are missing out on a great deal of potential entertainment! Why not use the resources available to you here at Bonus.co.uk to uncover your local bingo club and find your way to an entertaining bingo blast?
Q. Is it expensive to play bingo?
Not at all! At some venues bingo tickets can be bought for peanuts, although you may have to buy more than one ticket if you want the best chance of winning a prize.
Q. What’s a bingo dabber?
A bingo dabber is the name of the big fat bingo pen used to mark off the numbers on your bingo card. These chunky beasts make ‘dabbing’ off the numbers simple, so you never have to worry about missing a call.
Q. Do you have to learn all the bingo lingo?
You’ll notice that your bingo caller will announce either traditional (‘Garden Gate’) or modern (‘Wills & Kate’) terms as they call the numbers. Don’t worry, as they will call the numbers too, so you don’t have to remember which term signifies which number.
Q. What type of bingo is usually played at bingo clubs?
In the UK, the most popular form of bingo is 90-ball bingo. You might find 75-ball bingo at some clubs, and 80-ball bingo too.