Bingo is a game of probability in which players mark off numbers on cards as the numbers are drawn randomly by a caller, the winner being the first person to mark off all their numbers. Bingo became increasingly more popular across the UK with more purpose-built bingo halls opened every year until 2005. Since 2005, Bingo Halls have seen a marked decline in revenues and the closure of many halls. The number of bingo clubs in Britain has dropped from nearly 600 in 2005 to under 400 as of January, 2014. These closures are blamed on high taxes, the smoking ban, and the rise in on-line gambling, amongst other things.
The game is thought to have begun in Italy in the 1500s. Bingo is believed to have migrated to France, Great Britain, and other parts of Europe in the 1700s. Players mark off numbers on a ticket as they are randomly called out, in order to achieve a winning combination. Bingo originates from the Italian lottery, Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia. From Italy, the game spread to France and was known as Le Lotto, played by the French aristocracy. Tombola was used in nineteenth-century Germany as an educational tool to teach children multiplication tables, spelling, and even history.
Bingo played in the UK (90 ball bingo) is not to be confused with bingo played in the US (75 ball bingo), as the tickets and the calling are slightly different.