The game of bingo is as much part of the British cultural landscape as are neighborhood pubs, fish and chips and the Royal Family! Recent statistics show that there are more than 3 million regular bingo players in the United Kingdom who enjoy their favorite game at offline bingo locations or online at bingo sites each week. The game remains the most popular group leisure activity in the United Kingdom and the second most popular individual activity overall.
Bingo only became widely accepted in the United Kingdom in 1960 when the government passed the Gaming Act, allowing the game to be played in members-only establishments. Old cinema houses, theaters and opera halls that were standing empty were immediately converted into bingo rooms across the nation, and the idea of the local bingo hall – in all its pomp and splendor - was created.
Ping pong balls in glass cabinets that produced winning numbers in these bingo halls were soon shown to be easily rigged and were replaced with more modern Random Number Generators in the 1970s. The popularity of bingo continued to grow at such an incredible pace that several bingo companies built custom buildings across the country in order to house brand new bingo halls.
Two of the most popular names in the offline bingo industry today in the United Kingdom are Gala Bingo and the Rank Group, which runs Mecca bingo halls. It is believed that four out of ten people who play bingo in the UK will play at a Gala club, and this group gives away over a quarter of a million cash prizes every week.
With the advent of the internet in the 1990s, the game of bingo soon made a smooth transition from offline locations to online sites. From the turn of the millennium, the industry saw a surge in the launching of new bingo sites and today there are hundreds of sites that offer the popular game of 90 ball bingo (as well as other variations of the game) to players from the United Kingdom and around the world. These sites are as popular for their great games and prizes, progressive jackpots and fast paced action, as they are for their incredible social vibes thanks to chat rooms which gives them the opportunity to talk to players from all over the UK and the globe.
The bingo industry in the UK is going through an upheaval at the moment because of the introduction of strict new national regulations that came into effect last year. Many offline bingo sites are struggling to remain open due to a double-taxation policy on the industry, as well as a new smoking ban that has caused many players to ditch their favorite bingo haunts and turn to online bingo playing instead.
The big names in the business warn that if the government does not change its policy soon, hundreds of bingo halls will be forced to close their doors in the future, removing a very valuable social network for millions of players in the country.
In the meantime, online bingo in the UK continues to gain momentum, with more and more sites opening up and competition between these companies becoming fiercer each month.
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