What is ‘Bingo’?
Bingo is a popular game of probability, in which a player is given a card with numbers on it. The “caller” announces numbers and the player marks off any number they have on their card which match. The winner is the first person to mark off all of their numbers on their card and commonly the winner exclaims “bingo!” at this moment. In the case of online bingo, a random number generator is used instead of traditional bingo balls – with an online “caller” announcing the numbers.
Bingo is believed to have started in Europe in the 16th century, moving and gaining popularity in Britain during the 18th century. The modern version of Bingo can be traced back to carnivals in the 1920s, where bingo cards were first used.
A typical bingo card or ticket contains 27 spaces, split into nine columns and three rows. Each column contains up to three numbers and each row contains five numbers and four blank spaces. Variations on the game appear across different bingo locations and online bingo websites but generally columns are arranged with 10 numbers. For example, the first column will contain numbers 1 to 9, the second column will contain numbers 10 to 20 and so on, up until the last column which contains the numbers 81 to 90. Bingo cards are created in strips of six to allow for the numbers 1 to 90 to appear across all six tickets.
Online bingo was first established in the 1990s and is now estimated to account for over $1 billion in gross gaming revenue. Online bingo offers players extra features to make the game easier – including “auto-dab” – which automatically marks matching numbers off bingo cards without players having to take any action. The popularity of online gambling – including bingo – in countries such as the UK continues to grow, with an estimated £6.8 billion spent during 2013-2014.