The game of bingo (originally known as Beano) is a fairly easy game to play; the rules are simple and easy to follow. Each player buys his or her bingo cards (lotto tickets) upon entry to the bingo hall or online game, these tickets will be individually and uniquely marked with a set of 15 numbers from 1 to 75.
A traditional bingo grid or card is set out with the letters B,I,N,G,O set out along the top of the bingo card, one letter in each column. There will be five boxes in each column below a letter, in each of these boxes there will be a number, chosen from the 15 number allocated to any one of the five Bingo initials as follows B numbers 1 - 15, I numbers 16 - 30, N numbers 31-45, G numbers 46-60 and finally O numbers 61-75.
Every bingo card will be unique ensuring there is no duplication of a single card within a game, however this does not mean that there will only be one winner. The random combinations of numbers which are called during a game allows differing cards to provide several winners, adding more fun to the game.
Once everyone playing the game has their cards in front of them, the game is then passed to the Caller, a bingo caller is a person who is charge of 75 balls, every ball is numbered, then placed in a tombola, the caller randomly selects a ball and shouts (calls) out the number on it. This is how the numbers are generated.
Once a number has been called the players check their cards to see if that number appears, if it does the number is marked off and the process starts over again.
There are many combinations of game which are played, the obvious is to mark off all the numbers on a bingo card, (cover all) once all numbers are covered the player shouts Bingo and is the winner of the game.
Other combinations which are used in Bingo are marking off all 4 corners, playing for a line, playing for 2 lines. At the end of any of these combinations a cash prize will be won, this has to be divided equally by all the winners.
Bingo became a popular past-time during the 1930's when once a week people would gather in picture theatres paying an entry fee in return for free bingo tickets winning cash prizes, at this point there were no regulations monitoring the game, In 1968 the UK gaming act came into play, then finally in 1986 we saw the launch of National Bingo.
From this point onwards Bingo could be played all over the country in individual bingo halls simultaneously, with hundreds even thousands of players all playing for the same Jackpot Prize.
Since 2004, as with so many other businesses, Bingo took the leap to go online, this has been a major success, online bingo works similarly to normal bingo in the fact that you still have to buy your cards, except the computer does the blotting or checking off for you, you can access all kinds of bingo related games, and play against real people.
Even in the last 2 years the advertising for online bingo has become immense, there are loads of sites out there tempting players with incentives of matching their first deposit. Online bingo has been brilliant for those who can't get to bingo halls to play on a regular basis, it allows those people to connect, and chat online as they play through their games, seeing the start of one of the biggest online communities.
It is good to remember that bingo is only a game, sure there are substantial prizes to be won, but there is also a lot of money to be lost should you play beyond your means. The only person who can govern this is you.
Anna Stenning takes a look at the rules of the game Bingo a brief glance at the history of the game and the growth in popularity amongst all ages.