The game of bingo has evolved significantly since what could be referred to as its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s. Thought to have originated in Italy as far back as the early 16th century, the game took its place at the forefront of British culture for many years following the Second World War.
In the 1990s, the popularity of bingo waned, and the game became known as something almost exclusively enjoyed by the elderly. However, the advent of online bingo software revolutionised the format and began drawing in players once more. Not only were more people playing bingo, but the demographics were shifting and widening. From being introduced through online play, many then graduated to playing bingo at physical venues.
Today, millions of people of all ages enjoy playing bingo both online and offline. As a result, several exciting new variations have been created to appeal to different sections of the audience. A bingo night out can now revolve around music, popular culture, clubbing and comedy as well as hoping for the right numbers to be called.
Drag queen cabaret shows have long been a staple of global entertainment capital such as Las Vegas. More recently, the launch of Ru Paul’s Drag Race on television has brough drag queen culture into the mainstream. Drag bingo brings together one of the most popular games in the world with elements of burlesque and risqué drag cabaret, for an evening out that is like no other. Players of drag bingo experience all the thrill of bingo with the entertainment factor and comedy stylings associated with attending a drag show.
Rock and Roll Bingo
Rock and roll bingo is a mix of music trivia and bingo
Rock and roll bingo gives regular bingo an exciting twist. The game, which is often played for charity events, replaces the numbers on the cards with the names of bands and artists and the titles of songs, and the numbers being called out with clips of popular tunes.
Players must identify the tune before being able to cross it off their card, making the game as much about music trivia as it is about spotting the right spaces on the card.
Rebel Bingo is the brainchild of television producer Freddie Sorenson and friend James Gordon. The concept was born in a Farringdon church hall, where the duo used to perform variety-style shows. On clearing up one evening, they discovered the bingo equipment and began messing around with a few ideas. Rebel Bingo appeals to the new, younger bingo audience by combining elements of nightclubbing with a variation on the traditional game, touring the UK and hosting nights at licensed bingo hall venues across the country.
In Rebel Bingo, the callers are dressed like nightclub podium dancers, the music is an eclectic mix of R&B and nineties hip-hop, and the calls have been adapted to be ever so slightly risqué. With a mirror ball on the ceiling, rounds of Jägerbombs circulating and little to no restrictions on making noise, the atmosphere at Rebel Bingo is more reminiscent of a city centre on a Saturday night than a church hall.
Bongo’s Bingo is another branded variation of the game that appeals to the clubbing crowd. A recent survey in Hull found that 41% of young people today would rather play bingo than go clubbing. With Bongo’s Bingo, they can have the best of both worlds. Bongo’s Bingo originated with two friends from Liverpool and is hugely popular in the north of England. The event, which is similar to a club night in a lot of ways, has toured global nightlife hotspots including Amsterdam, Australia, Dubai, and Ibiza.
Players of Bongo’s Bingo are encouraged to dance the night away to club classics combined with pop favourites. Dancing on the benches is encouraged and people are as likely to take a pair of glowsticks home as a cash prize, However, there are still cash prizes and a range of other fun prizes to be won. These can range from £600 to giant stuffed unicorns, bottles of vodka, celebrity cardboard cut-outs and more.
Boozy Bingo involves free shots included with game cards
Boozy Bingo does exactly what it says on the tin – combines the game of bingo with copious amounts of alcohol. Boozy Bingo (capital letters) is held in a micro-chain café in London, with spaces for around 25 players. While this means prizes are smaller, there is also a much higher chance of winning something. Happy hour drinks prices and free shots included with game cards are all part of the appeal. Boozy bingo (not capitalised) is a game than can be played almost anywhere with a willing group of friends and a well-stocked liquor cabinet.
Bingo nights can also be excellent ways to spend time at home with friends. Stocking up on drinks and nibbles, investing in a bingo machine or downloading some online software and encouraging everyone to get their dabbers out can result in a fun-filled evening for all. Prizes for home bingo games do not have to be expensive – a nice bottle of wine or box of chocolates can be enough incentive to get people playing. Many online bingo games are also designed with in-built chat features to facilitate a virtual games night when people cannot physically meet up.