Bingo On the Telly

In most of the world people play bingo at bingo halls or at internet bingo sites. In the UK bingo is so popular that residents can also play live bingo on television. Television bingo seems to be a British phenomenon and is unknown outside of the UK. Believe it or not television bingo is not a new invention. Way back in 1958 Time magazine ran an article about television bingo games in New York City and New Jersey. Station WABD decided to try out television bingo and it was an instant hit with housewives. On opening day the station’s phone lines were jammed by thousands of players calling to ask questions or shout ‘Bingo.’ The game’s popularity waned in the United States but was reincarnated in a new form in the UK.

In 2008 ITV launched Bingo Night Live which featured free bingo games. Initially the shows were criticized because of their poor quality and a scandal related to the manipulation of TV quizzes prompted even more criticism. The show was short lives and only lasted from June 4th 2008 to November 15th of the same year. Eventually other television bingo games emerged and today thousands play television bingo regularly.

TV bingo works in much the same way as traditional bingo. Players must be 18 years old to play cash bingo and bingo chips are placed on a board using a telephone menu. TV bingo is a fixed odds game much like keno and lottery games. Players pick six numbers using their telephone which is done by calling the number displayed on the screen and following voice prompts. Players can choose their own numbers or have them selected by a random number generator. Players follow the drawing of the numbers and check the numbers against those on their bingo cards. After each number is called a computer verifies the game cards and seeks out the winner(s).

There are several prize levels; the main jackpot and several smaller prize categories. TV bingo is incredibly popular and attracts millions of players. There are several TV bingo shows run by different bingo operators. The most popular form of bingo in the UK is still internet bingo. Over three million Britons play internet bingo every week. Bingo is so popular in the UK that it is considered an ingrained part of British culture. The immense popularity of internet bingo has been beneficial for traditional bingo halls that are just starting to recover from the damage done by the smoking ban in 2007. TV bingo attracts a huge audience and is likely to remain in the air for the foreseeable future.