Bingo has a long and fascinating history. Originating in Italy in the 16th century, its popularity soon spread across the globe, until people in every country had the chance to enjoy it. Today, its appeal is as enduring as ever, with millions of individuals playing each year.
But which countries are bingo’s biggest fans? We took a look at the statistics and did some digging to find you an answer.
In top spot… the United Kingdom
To anyone who’s ever spent time in the UK, it should come as no surprise that it tops this list. With bingo beloved by people of all ages, every town and city has a host of local bingo halls. And, in 2021, the game isn’t only popular in its standard format – Britain’s citizens are increasingly playing online too.
For those looking for the best online bingo in the UK, sites like Betfair offer dozens of different options to choose between, ranging from themed offerings like Deal or No Deal to the ever-popular Slingo (a version combining the classic game with elements of internet slots).
With an estimated 3.5 million players, the statistics are astonishing: 12 percent of all UK women apparently play, along with six percent of the male population. These numbers meant that by 2016, bingo was more widely played than tennis.
A close second… Italy
Anyone who’s ever visited the UK can attest to the popularity of bingo, but very few people come back from a holiday to Italy and comment on how widely played it is there. This is actually rather odd because it’s a hugely popular national pastime.
As well as being the land of pizza, Italy is the place where another of our favorite things originated. Yes, we’re talking about bingo, which was originally known as ‘lotto’. Beginning in the country in around 1530, the game made its way from there to the rest of the world.
A testament to its enduring popularity is the many bingo halls dotted around Italy’s cities. While tourists might have no idea these exist, there are a lot of them around, with millions of people playing regularly.
Gaining ground in third… Japan
Another country that deserves a place on this list is Japan. Boasting the second-largest online bingo market in the world, the Japanese are big fans of the internet take on the original. That’s not to say they don’t like the land-based game, however – this is hugely popular too.
In fact, the game is becoming so extensively embraced that it’s rapidly catching up to Japan’s first and most enduring love: pachinko. This mechanical game is played in parlors throughout the country, but now bingo is almost as widely enjoyed.
There are a couple of factors that explain this phenomenon. Firstly, Japan’s population is very technologically advanced, with almost every citizen owning multiple electronic devices that offer 24/7 access to the internet. Secondly, gambling has recently been legalized, helping to spur fresh interest in online gaming.
Tell us, which of these three countries would you most like to play bingo in?