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Apr
15th

Why is British Bingo So Popular ?

It is no secret that bingo is one of the most popular games in the British Isles. Today there is hardly a village without its own bingo club and games across the country are well attended. In addition the UK is currently the largest internet bingo market in the world and most of the major internet bingo operators are located in the UK. How did such a simple game become so popular with so many? To dins the answer a look at the 60’s is essential. The 60’s were a turbulent time and a new counterculture developed. Fashions changed and there were many sudden cultural changes, not all of them good. The real history of bingo in the UK begins in the 60’s some three decades after the modern version of the game was invented in the United States.

The passage of the Gaming Act in 1960 created conditions that allowed the bingo industry to grow. Eric Morley of Mecca bingo was one of the first to realize the commercial potential of bingo. After a visit to the US Morley saw bingo as a way to repurpose the old ballrooms Mecca had made its name with. At the time Morley was best known for bringing a touch of glamor to the UK with his Miss World beauty competition.  The ballrooms were losing customers to the new medium of television. Morley added several improvements to the game of bingo. He used the now famous glass enclosed cabinets with fans blowing bingo balls. In the US the numbers were selected from a bag.

The glamour and inexpensive entertainment made Morley’s bingo halls popular with working class Britons. Throughout the 60’s and 70’s the industry expanded and several old cinemas were refurbished as glamorous bingo halls. The deliberate glitz and glamor attracted even more people and the 60’s and 70’s are now considered the ‘golden age’ of British bingo. As the 70’s rolled into the 80’s bingo halls found it hard to compete with discos and multiplex theatres. The industry failed to attract younger players and soon the bingo playing population began to age.

In the 90’s bingo clubs began to show some signs of revival and the first internet bingo sites appeared. The internet bingo industry grew rapidly and taught a whole new generation about the joys of bingo. Today many British bingo operators have remodeled their bingo clubs with young players in mind and the move has been successful. Today the land based and internet bingo industries co exist and bingo is more popular than ever in Great Britain.