The Differences Between UK and American Bingo

The Differences Between UK and American Bingo
Posted on 15 July 2012 Currently the UK has the most active bingo market both online and offline. Internet bingo is now the fastest growing sector of the internet gaming industry in Great Britain. In the United States bingo is also a popular pastime and is played in churches and many games are sponsored by charitable groups. In addition to charitable bingo games many Native American tribes have opened large bingo halls on their respective reservations. In both nations the game is known as bingo but there are significant differences between American and British bingo games. In Great Britain 90 ball bingo is the most popular and familiar game. 90 ball bingo is a direct descendant of an Old Italian game known as Tombola. Tombola was introduced in the UK by sailors at the turn of the 20th century. The British version of the game is played using numbers from 1 through 90. The bingo cards, also known as ‘tickets’ are different from American bingo cards. 90 ball bingo cards have a 5X5 grid and there are several ways to win 90 ball bingo games. In the United States 75 ball bingo is the most popular game and 90 ball bingo is unknown to most American players at live bingo halls. A few Americans play 90 ball bingo at internet bingo sites but 75 ball bingo is the dominant game in the United States. 75 ball bingo is also played on a card with a 5X5 grid. As the name implies the game uses numbers from 1 through 75. American bingo cards have the letters B-I-N-G-O at the top of the card and there is one free space located in the center of the card. The numbers called will fit in a specific column; for example O-4. The modern bingo game was ‘invented’ by American toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe in 1929. Lowe visited a carnival in Georgia where a popular game called ‘Beano’ was being played. Callers drew numbers from a sack and beans were used to cover the squares on the card. Lowe made a few changes and the modern bingo game was born. Around the same time 90 ball bingo was becoming popular in the UK. British ‘Tommies’ played bingo in the trenches during the Great War and were responsible for making the game popular during the postwar years. The 1960’s and 70’s are sometimes referred to as the ‘golden age of bingo’ in the UK. Gambling laws were relaxed and massive bingo halls sprung up throughout the UK. Internet bingo was introduced in 1996 and today millions play bingo on the internet regularly. In the UK commercial bingo is a huge industry and is currently expanding into other markets. It has been estimated that internet bingo now generates $2 billion annually.

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