Online bingo or the bingo hall? The future of bingo in a post-pandemic world

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2022 may be the Year of the Tiger according to Chinese Zodiac but for bingo enthusiasts, it’s the year of the ‘two little ducks’, the popular bingo nickname for the number ‘22’.

Hopefully, the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic are behind us and 2022 will be a year of increased prosperity and fewer restrictions. Nevertheless, the social effects of the pandemic remain.

Many bingo enthusiasts, particularly seniors, will still be wary about returning to packed bingo halls but this doesn’t mean that they’ll have to miss out.

The rise and fall of bingo

The roots of bingo can be traced back to 16th century Italy, based on the Italian lottery, Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia.

During the First World War, bingo was a popular pastime in the trenches and bingo was held at fundraising events across Britain.

Following the war, ex-servicemen continued to play bingo games known as ‘housey-housey’ and ‘tombola’ which became popular with the working classes.

From the 1920s to 1950s, bingo was common at fairgrounds and seaside towns.

Following the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960, large cash-prizes were legalised and bingo was promoted by Eric Morley in dancehalls across the UK, ushering in the golden age of bingo during the 1960s.

The Gaming Act of 1968 imposed stricter regulation on bingo and many independent bingo halls closed after 1968, but the game remained ingrained in British culture and continued to be a popular pastime, especially within the social club scene.

Bingo slowly declined in popularity over the following decades and the Smoking Ban of 2007 hit bingo halls hard as smokers were forced to step outside rather than smoke through games.

This was exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis - many bingo halls across the country have ended up closed.

On top of these challenges, bingo failed to evolve and the game was not attracting younger players, unable to shake off its image of being a game for pensioners.

The pandemic could have been the final nail in the coffin for commercial bingo but rather than killing it off, the effects of the pandemic seem to have done the opposite, injecting a much needed ‘booster’ into the arm of the bingo industry in the form of online bingo.

Why is bingo so popular?

The main factor contributing to the popularity of bingo is its simplicity, compared to some casino and card games. Despite its simplicity, bingo is an exciting, fast-paced game and players must be mentally astute.

In fact, bingo can stimulate the cognitive function of the brain - a positive aspect of playing the game, particularly amongst the elderly. It is important for the brain to remain active as we age and playing bingo is a great way to do this, as well as keeping hand-eye coordination up to speed.

There is no doubt that the main reason for the popularity of bingo is the social atmosphere around it. Getting together with friends at the bingo hall and having a good laugh, with the chance to win some cash, is greatly appealing.

Old name, new normal

The online bingo at Lottoland is a fantastic way to enjoy bingo from the comfort of your own home whilst not missing out on social interaction and having the chance to win huge prizes.

Lottoland recently launched a new online bingo game called ‘The Vault’, offering the world’s largest online bingo jackpot, a massive £5 million. ‘The Vault’ is played on Wednesdays and Saturdays - it costs just 25p to take part in the 90-ball bingo game.

The 90-ball game is the classic British version of bingo which was previously known as ‘Housey-Housey’.

Lottoland offers over 10 different bingo rooms including the 75-ball US version of bingo as well as 80-ball and 30-ball versions plus speed-bingo and bingo side games based on popular slot games.

Online bingo is popular for the same reasons as bingo at the hall is. It’s easy to play, yet exciting and stimulating for the brain.

The important social aspect is not lost either as online bingo chatrooms mean that you can enjoy good banter with fellow participants and play with friends and family from around the world.

During the months of lockdown due to the pandemic, people had plenty of time on their hands. Playing online games was one of the most popular ways to spend time - and the urge to play bingo hit millions of people who previously had not considered taking the game up.

Online bingo has also presented previous bingo players the opportunity to try out new versions of the game, meet new bingo buddies, or play online with friends or family. Further benefits of online bingo include occasional free tickets as part of a promotion, big bonuses and multiple jackpots.

A new golden age of bingo?

Enjoying bingo as a social activity is the essence of the game and Lottoland has made sure to incorporate this aspect into their online bingo.

Lottoland’s CEO Nigel Birrell states: "We never wanted to lose that feeling of camaraderie and fun."

The closure of the bingo halls also meant that those who enjoyed their social bingo prior to lockdown needed to find an alternative, with the online version filling the void very nicely.

Essentially, online bingo enables you to enjoy ‘a night out’ from the comfort of your own home - all you need is an internet connection and a mobile device.

Perhaps bingo halls will never return to their former glory, or maybe they may start to fill up with new faces. It could be that those who took up the online version of the game may want to experience a real-life bingo hall.

Bingo has been around in some form for over 500 years. Will we witness the revival of the bingo hall or is online bingo the ‘new normal’?

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🎂 Speaking of prizes and special days...
🗓 Tell us your birthday month and win Extras!