A humble game with a historic background, it is believed that the first game of bingo was played in 16th century Italy, thus making it part of the Renaissance, which was the definitive era of modern mankind.
From Italy it ventured into France under the alias of “Le Lotto”, where it was a favourite with the aristocracy before being used in Germany as an educational tool for subject matter ranging from mathematics to history, and then eventually arriving in Britain in the late 18th century.
Its popularity and staying power is unquestionable and bingo is now quintessentially British. There are currently 400 Bingo Halls in the UK and the game was even featured in the George Osborne’s, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, recent Budget.
The game’s beauty lies in its simplicity. There are 90 balls that get randomly drawn from a tombola and you simply need to hope that the drawn numbers match those numbers on your ticket. Your ticket consists of 15 numbers. The two most common ways of winning are by getting a line, five matched numbers that are all in one line, or a full house, which is where all of your 15 numbers have been called.
Key to bingo’s popularity is the role of the caller who not only reads out the numbers but keeps the audience entertained. Even now the main form of humour comes from the nicknames assigned to each number, such as “Legs 11”. We are all familiar with some of the bingo nicknames but there are many that are not familiar to even the most ardent of bingo player.