Bingo has always been a hugely popular game in the North East, with Tyne & Wear and County Durham regions listed as having the second-highest number of bingo halls in the UK (28), after London (32). It’s easy to see why, as this is a fast-paced game of chance with a strong social element. It’s interesting to note that this level of popularity has been maintained despite some major changes in how the game is played, so why has it remained such a favourite for so long?
How We Play Bingo Now
We can start by looking at online bingo, which is how many people in the region now play the game. Land-based casinos are always an option, but the convenience of online and mobile play has made a means that newcomers can try it for free and provides existing players with fresh ways to play.
Many online casinos also offer bingo promotions which add an extra incentive. These give players the chance to pick up bonuses like free games and bonus credits to use in game. Free games are typically offered at certain times of day and in a special free room, while players making their first deposit might get a bonus like free spins on a slot game. These promotions are extremely effective in getting people to give bingo a try.
The fact that bingo sites include other games like slots and Slingo has led to people trying these games too, so it could be said that bingo has helped introduce us to other ways of playing too. These games are largely similar to bingo in that they have a random outcome that the player can’t influence and simple gameplay that anyone can pick up in next to no time.
Looking Back on the Rise of Bingo Halls
Of course, bingo was massive in the North East long before people were connecting to the internet. The game’s history can be traced back to the US in the 1920s, although some theories suggest that it’s probably based on a 16th-century lottery-type game from Italy. None of that mattered when bingo arrived in the UK, though. In the 1960s and 70s, this arguably became the country’s favourite game, as people flocked to bingo halls for weekly entertainment and socialisation.
The appeal of bingo halls waned as other ways of spending time appeared. This meant that there were even claims that bingo in North East was dying out, with examples such as North Shields, Jarrow and South Shields all losing halls when a local franchise closed in 2019. But online versions of the bingo have revived it again and led to increased demand for land-based bingo too.
The impact of bingo in the region can be seen in the number of former bingo halls that remain. For example, The Academy in Newcastle is now a live music venue but it was a fantastic bingo hall for almost four decades in the second part of the 20th century. Many people in the city will still have fond memories of playing bingo here regularly.
While the way we play bingo in the North East has changed over the years, as witnessed in these photos taken in halls in Newcastle and elsewhere, the essence of the game remains the same. The way we can play it has simply been adapted to our modern lifestyles without affecting the gameplay that people have loved for so long.