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Sep
4th

Bingo and New Technologies

No one really knows just where the game of bingo really came from but most historians say the game originated in Italy as a lottery style game. During the Christmas and New Year’s holidays Italians play a game called Tombola which bears a strong resemblance to the 90 ball bingo games enjoyed in Britain and Europe. The 75 ball version which is played in North America is a variation of an old carnival game called ‘beano.’ New York toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe refined and marketed the game we know today as bingo. By the 1040’s the game had spread across the United States. A priest approached Lowe to design a game that could be played by many players and bingo began its long association with churches and charities.

Today almost 4 million Britons play live bingo and millions more play bingo on the internet. During the Great War British soldiers played bingo in the trenches. In fact it was one of the few games approved by military authorities. After World War 2 the game was played in holiday camps that sprung up throughout Britain. The operator of the postwar holiday camps is still in the bingo business and is a good example of the game’s staying power. Today just about every city, town and hamlet has its own High Street bingo hall.

Today bingo is no longer a game for pensioners and has attracted many young players. Today the average bingo player is female and under 30 years old. Many operators have spent large amounts of money to refurbish bingo halls to appeal to a younger crowd of casual players. One Coventry bingo hall has added tablet computers to attract young players and news accounts say the move has been successful. Rank Group which operates Mecca bingo halls throughout the UK has invested millions of pounds refurbishing Mecca bingo halls to attract young casual players. Amenities include bar service, improved food and live music at some clubs.

Today social and mobile gaming have presented bingo operators with new opportunities. Because of mobile gaming Playtech announced a 64% year on year increase in revenues. Social gaming is a hot industry topic and one of the most popular games on Facebook is Zynga’s bingo games. Bingo has had a long and interesting history and the game has adapted to new technologies very well.