While online bingo may be all the rage today, it’s a little known fact that the game itself goes back almost 500 years. Originally, it was played in Italy and called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia”. Just like the National Lottery’s Lotto game today, part of its purpose was to raise funds for the State and in later centuries the game spread across Europe, eventually reaching America in the early 20th century.

But it wasn’t until the 1930s that it started its meteoric rise to reach the level of popularity it’s achieved today. We’ve a man called Edward S. Lowe to thank for its success. Lowe was a salesman who visited many of travelling fairs that crossed the country. At many of them he came across a game being played called “Beano” – because players placed a bean on each number as it was called out. He soon saw the potential of the game and started to market it under the more memorable name “bingo”.

It wasn’t until the post-war years of the 1950s that it crossed the Atlantic and got a foothold in the UK. As more and more bingo halls opened, it quickly became a big favourite with women of all ages, as well as a small number of men, and at its peak there was a bingo hall in virtually every town and city in the country.

But over the 1970s and 80s the game started to fall out of favour, squeezed out by alternative leisure activities. However recent years have seen a big resurgence of interest, driven by the emergence of the online version of the game. With so many UK bingo sites, players are truly spoilt for choice and they continue to be predominantly women. There are a number of reasons why the game appeals to female players, many of which have always been part of its key appeal.

It’s a very social game

In older times, for example in the 50s, there was a far greater gender division between the way men and women spent their leisure time. For men there was the pub and football where they could mix with their mates but opportunities were far more limited for women. So when bingo halls started to open, it created the perfect place to meet up with female friends, maybe made even better by the absence of men. It was somewhere that you could let your hair down, have a chat and a drink and generally enjoy a good time. This aspect of sociability is kept very much alive by online sites today, almost all of which feature chat rooms to foster an online community.

It fits in with busy lives

In the old days, it could have been that women put aside a certain night of the week for bingo but today we all have lots of extra demands on our time. This is especially true for women having to strike that work-life balance of having full time jobs and a family. But the beauty of online bingo is that it’s a game that can be dipped into whenever there’s a few minutes spare in the day, maybe on the bus on the way home from work or while enjoying a quiet moment and a cup of tea. Of course, the advent of the smartphone has been critical in this development because it means play is possible at any time and anywhere you like.

There’s plenty of choice of games

They say that variety is the spice of life so the sheer choice of games that are available to play are certain to appeal to women. This means that things never get boring, especially as many of the games have a distinctly female theme to them. This also fits in with the fact that sometimes there may just be a few minutes available to play a particular game while at others there may be far more time. So it’s easy to pick the game that fits the situation the best. Compare this to a typical drawn-out male leisure activity like watching a game of football and it’s easy to see why bingo’s the ladies’ choice!

The stakes are low

Unlike more “serious” kinds of gambling like playing games like poker or roulette, bingo can be played for just a few pence a game. In fact, for many women, the money aspect of the play isn’t very important at all. But, having said that, the fact that you can win some very big cash prizes also has its own very obvious appeal. Although the chances are quite slim of winning a truly huge prize this does miss the point of bingo for most women. They just want to enjoy a few minutes’ escapism from their everyday lives – and any cash that they pick up in the process is just a bonus.

It’s exciting

We all need a little excitement in our lives. Bingo provides this thrill in a very particular way thanks to how it’s played. As your card fills up and you feel yourself edging ever closer to a win and the calling of each number becomes an increasingly tense event. If your luck’s in, then a win’s on the cards but even if you come up short, there’s still the adrenalin rush of nearly having made it over the line. It’s the availability of this little form of thrill during the day that makes it so appealing.

In fact, as more and more women who might only have ever thought bingo was something their Nan used to play take up the game, it’s becoming popular with every age. For example, some nightclubs now hold bingo nights with pounding music, fun prizes and an altogether more hip and trendy vibe. Above all, these are more female-friendly events than some other kinds of club nights, so the game certainly seems to be enjoying a resurgence in the real world as well as online. And for women looking for a great night out that has to be some very good news indeed.