Bingo may not seem like a geeky game. It is a form of gambling, albeit a mild one, but surely it is usually games like blackjack and poker that are considered to be more suitable for geeks. But, if you look at it from a different perspective, bingo involves numbers, and not just numbers, but numbers arranged in various patterns, and what’s geekier than that.
The decline of traditional bingo
Until a decade or two ago, bingo, at least competitive bingo, was considered to be a game for older folks. Conventional bingo halls all over the UK were usually places were senior citizens used to hang out. It’s not that younger people weren’t all that into bingo, but it was more the fact that the tradition of bingo remained unchanged for years and it simply wasn’t modern enough to attract younger people. Traditional bingo has a long and eventful history in the UK, but the new millennium came, and it was time to move on.
Currently, there are only about 350 bingo halls in the UK, and there were twice as many about 15 years ago. That fact taken in isolation might make it seem like bingo’s popularity is waning, but it is not like that. Bingo’s popularity is actually growing, especially with millennials, who haven’t previously been as much into bingo.
Online bingo and the most popular variants
One of the key trends that brought the newer generations to bingo is the emergence and popularisation of online bingo. There are plenty of bingo sites that offer online bingo games and that is one of the reasons why so many conventional bingo halls decided to shut down. Bingo didn’t lose its popularity, it’s just that the way people play bingo has changed.
With online bingo, it became a lot easier for players to try out different bingo variants. You may not be aware that there are multiple variants of bingo. First, we have 90-ball bingo, also known as British bingo. This variant is predominantly played in the UK and is close to the original version of the game. It is pretty evident that the game comes with 90 numbers, and the tickets come with a nine by three grid – three lines and nine columns. Out of the 27 positions on the ticket, 15 are filled, whereas a dozen positions are empty. The only possible winning combinations in 90-ball bingo are tied to the three lines – so, you can win a single line, a double line and a full-house. The last prize involves getting all numbers on a ticket. Tickets are sold in strips consisted of six tickets where a single strip includes all numbers from 1 to 90.
On the other hand, Americans are used to a different bingo variant – 75-ball bingo. This version is less classic and more dynamic, and what’s interesting about it, is that it comes with a range of sub-variants. Namely, the winning patterns can be different, and it is possible to come up with completely new and unique ideas.
Other bingo variants
Now that the game is online and bingo sites are no longer limited as to which variant they are going to offer, as they can offer both varieties, a lot of Americans familiarised themselves with 90-ball bingo and a lot of Brits got to play 75-ball bingo for the first time. A lot of new and completely different variants have also been developed and are being offered at multiple bingo sites. 80-ball bingo is a variant that something between 75-ball bingo and 90-ball bingo. Then we have 52-ball bingo and then finally instant bingo, which is also known as 30-ball bingo.
Modern land-based bingo
Online bingo also influenced land-based bingo, i.e. since the appearance of online bingo made the game a lot more dynamic and encouraged land-based providers to look at ways to modernise the game and make it more appealing.
So, there are a lot of non-standard venues where bingo games are held, and it’s usually not just bingo, the game is combined with other exciting forms of entertainment – bingo and dancing, bingo and quizzes, bingo and booze and food, or perhaps a combination of all of the above. Even bingo costume parties are taking place, so you can put on a geeky mask and enjoy a fun bingo night with your friends.
The answer is ‘yes’
This article was more a retrospective of bingo, especially of the latest developments, but if you are looking for a short answer to the question – is bingo a geeky game, the answer would be – bingo is what you make of it, and it can surely be turned into a geekier game if the right elements are added.