Apparently, somewhere around nine out of every ten people now lives in a country where playing bingo is a popular past-time. But if there’s one country in the world that has really taken bingo to its heart in a way that outstrips even the USA, it’s surely the United Kingdom.
Bingo is tantamount to being a religion in Britain. Here, 90 ball bingo games are traditionally the most popular. The tradition of bingo in the UK has always had something of a raucous, ribald edge to it – with the saucy tongue in cheek humour that goes along with it – as well as the cheeky, funny calls and the tradition of making fun of the bingo caller. All these things helped make bingo magical in the UK for a certain audience – an audience which visited bingo halls in their millions during the post-war period.
Bingo really peaked in the UK during the 1960s after which it went into a steady decline. And it’s fair to say that decline has largely continued when it comes to physically visiting the old bingo halls. But it’s the online versions of the great game that have really seen bingo go from strength to strength in Britain – most notably over the last decade. And the prizes on offer have been rising along with the game’s resurgence in popularity as the really big online operators offer bigger and bigger prizes in the competition for our cash.
There are now well over three million people who play online bingo in the UK according to a BBC survey. Research reveals that people play mostly for the fun of playing and the possibilities for socialisation. But they also like the possibility of the really big prize.
And there have been a few wins in the UK that keeps the three million players very interested. During the early part of 2008, a 53-year old Welsh lady who was working in a garage became the country’s first ever bingo millionaire winning £1.1million playing online. And just a month afterwards, this record was exceeded when a Scottish lady landed £1.67 million through a progressive jackpot win on the UK’s national bingo game when she was at her local club. This lucky winner was a cleaning lady and in her 30s. She’d been playing bingo for many years with a friend who wasn’t there on the site – so when she won she generously decided to split her winnings straight down the middle with her loyal friend.
But then during December 2012, a Jobcentre from Lincolnshire outdid both previous millionaire winners when he won the world’s largest ever online prize of £5.9million. John Orchard, 60, from Long Sutton, was playing for a 30p stake on a video slot based on the movie “The Dark Knight”. And that’s a vast amount of cash by anyone’s standards. But watch this space because someone will surely beat even that record at some point.