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UK Bingo History

UK Bingo History

UK Bingo history, pretty much began when after the Unification of Italy, the Italian lottery was introduced, the game became very popular in Italy in the 16th century and through a process of enculturation was spread to every part of Europe, taking on the characteristics of each country that it became popular in and enjoying a huge following of the game. You would think that it would be a natural progression for the game to have spread from Europe to the UK as they are so geographically close to one-another, but this was not to be so. The game of bingo was first taken to the United States before it was ever introduced to the UK.

UK Bingo History

Bingo, or beano as it was called in the early days in the US was traditionally played at country fairs and a bean would be used to cover the number on the card so that the card could be used over again. Eventually a toy salesman, Edwin Lowe discovered the game and when playing the game with friends, apparently someone got so excited they yelled bingo accidentally. He liked this so much that the name stuck. He then hired a Maths Professor to invent a series of 6000 different cards and the game took of like a rocket-ship in the US. The game was then packaged and became popular as a church fundraiser.

In the UK bingo had quite a different evolutionary process and when it was introduced to the UK by Eric Morley, who incidentally was the man responsible for the Miss World Pageant, the popularity of the game was rather understated until the advent of the new Gambling Act in 1960 that allowed for gambling in members-only establishments. Only then did the game of bingo become a commercial reality for the UK. At that time many cinemas, theatres and dance halls were becoming obsolete because of a new form of entertainment, Television, so the practicalities of turning these establishments into bingo halls became a reality, they were generally quite plush affairs and all they needed was a bit of bingo equipment and there you have it. Glass cabinets fitted with fans and filled with numbered bingo balls that popped out in a dramatic way further enhanced the showbiz quality of the game and it began to take off and grow in popularity. After the introduction of a new law in 1968, it became increasingly easy to run bingo halls as a viable financial proposition and its popularity increased even more.

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