Bingo is a popular game all across the world. The countries that have legalized this form of entertainment have realized how interested players are and allowed them to enjoy it.

Ireland is one of the countries that has made various types of bingo legal, which means that residents are free to look for a bingo hall or online operator where they can play some games. But, how did bingo get to Ireland and become so popular? Read on for more information.

The history of bingo in Ireland

The game of bingo dates back to 16th-century Italy. However, every country has put its spin on it over time. When it comes to Ireland, bingo didn’t arrive until the 1960s. Many credit the Catholic Church for introducing it. It was initially used to raise money at charity events, but it didn’t take too long before it detached itself from religious associations and bingo halls started opening across Dublin.

Gael Linn, an organization that helps promote Irish culture and language, was responsible for opening and running them. Many of the bingo halls that were opened back then are still open, even though most underwent some renovations.

In comparison to England where the game was typically played by tourists and saw seasonal income, in Ireland, bingo was fully embraced and had no off-season. That meant that families could go to a bingo hall and engage in the game at any time.

Over time, the game changed, as is the case with most things. To stay relevant, bingo expanded past only bingo halls. In addition to these venues, bingo was being offered in local pubs and clubs. That meant that even people on a night out could play the game while drinking and spending time with their friends.

There are even rave bingo nights that interested players can take part in, in 12 venues across the country. These include drinking, dancing, and doing various stunts for prizes besides the bingo game.

The logical next step was taking the game online. Technology now allows for countless websites to be offering bingo games, so all players have to do is find an offer they like, make an account, and enjoy the game. Playing online means that there is more variety and no waiting for the next game to start. It also comes with chat room options that make it easy to make friends.

Types of bingo

Something else to be aware of is that there are different kinds of bingo. They are typically named after the number of balls that are used in a game. With that in mind, there is 30 Ball (speed bingo), 75 Ball, 80 Ball, and 90 Ball Bingo.

30 Ball Bingo uses the smallest number of balls, which is why it’s called “speed bingo” as it’s over much faster than other variations. Although it is not as common as other ones, it can still be found in bingo halls and online. This type is attractive to individuals that are short on time but want to play a game or two. Gaming cards come with 9 numbers, on a 3×3 grid. The stakes are high as there is only one grand prize.

Something else to be aware of is that there are different kinds of bingo.

75 Ball Bingo comes in multiple variations. There are 25 squares on a 5×5 grid with 24 numbers and the center blank. To win, a person must have a full row checked off their card, whether it’s vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. It can depend on the game, however.

80 Ball Bingo was created for online players and its popularity is constantly rising. While there are 80 balls, the card holds 16 numbers on a 4×4 grid. The winner must complete a pattern to get the prize. Winning patterns include single numbers, four corners, and horizontal and vertical lines.

The most popular version of bingo is 90 Ball Bingo. It has 90 balls and can be played online and in bingo halls. There are nine columns and three rows, and each column contains five numbers. That means that there are 15 numbers on every card. There is a first winner – the person that completes one horizontal row first. The one that completes two rows is the second winner. Lastly, the individual that completes all three rows gets the grand prize.

Furthermore, there are bingo games where players get to choose their own numbers in order to feel more in control. A variant with letters and numbers is also available.

Reasons why bingo is so popular

Now that you know a bit more about its history in Ireland and what types there are, it’s time to see why it is so popular among the Irish. There is a multitude of reasons, and here are just some of them.

It’s easy to pick up

For starters, bingo is very popular, not only in Ireland but across the world, because it is easy to pick up. It doesn’t require any particular skill to play and players only need some knowledge about how it works in order to participate. Basically, one only needs to know which pattern they should complete in order to win at bingo.

It’s accessible

Then, bingo is an activity that is very accessible to people. It can be found in local bingo halls, some clubs and bars, and online. Moreover, it can also be played at home with friends and family. When it comes to playing bingo in physical locations, some research is always recommended. Players want to find a venue with a pleasant atmosphere and interesting prizes. On the other hand, playing online also requires some planning.

It’s crucial to opt for a reliable operator in order to stay safe and ensure the game is fair. For example, the website Irishluck has a list of bingo sites that players can consider and investigate a little bit more before making an online account. Review websites provide various pros and cons that help interested individuals make the best decision when deciding on a provider. 

Additionally, bingo is also available in the form of a board game that allows players to play at home

What is more, when players opt for the online approach, they are free to play wherever, whenever. No matter if they’re at home, running errands, on their lunch break, or on the bus to work, it’s easy to play bingo over a portable device. Additionally, bingo is also available in the form of a board game that allows players to play at home. Whether it’s a party or family game night, it’s easy to pick the numbers and see which ones are drawn.

It’s family-friendly

Speaking of playing at home, the fact that bingo is family-friendly is also a big part of its popularity. Parents oftentimes play with their kids as it’s a great way to learn numbers and try something new. Even though the average player is an older adult, kids can still enjoy this fun game as they love winning prizes. So regardless of age, everyone loves the fun atmosphere and excitement that comes with bingo.

It can be free

Although playing online, in bingo halls, and televised bingo has to be paid for, there are alternatives that are free as well. For instance, bingo games are often offered in bars and clubs. Here, it’s not uncommon to find free games that patrons don’t have to pay for. This is very attractive to people as they don’t have to stress over losing money.

Furthermore, when playing at home, there is no need to put any money on the line. The stakes can be low like candy or the winner gets to pick the next movie. However, the winner can also have bragging rights and keep it at that.

It’s interactive

A big reason why Irish people love bingo is its interactions. There is always something happening. Unless they’re playing alone at home, people can be in a bustling environment. Players will be chatting along, the announcer will be giving out the drawn numbers, individuals will be yelling out “BINGO!” once they complete a row, and so on.

It’s never complete silence as people from all walks of life, no matter their age, race, gender, religion, and social status mingle and get involved. Sometimes, there are even singing and dancing competitions before the game starts.

It’s fun

Last but not least, bingo is popular simply because it’s so much fun. From helping the elderly work out their brain to teaching young ones how to count, there is so much that bingo can offer. It’s engaging as well as competitive. However, seeing as how it’s based purely on luck, and skill has almost nothing to do with winning, it’s not a cutthroat competition but a casual one that is enjoyable for the participants.

Moreover, bingo is also popular in the LGBTQIA+ community and it’s not uncommon to find bingo nights hosted by drag queens that make the event even more fun.

As you can see, there are many reasons why bingo is such a popular game in Ireland. Have you ever played bingo? Why do you like it or why haven’t you tried it yet? Give it a try to see how fun it can actually be.