The game of Bingo has been a popular pastime for many centuries. Whilst the game of chance wasn’t always so accessible, or socially accepted, there have been many points throughout history where Bingo has been heavily influenced by The Monarchy. Whilst we can’t necessarily imagine the Queen signing up to online Bingo to play a game, it’s a well-known fact that Her Majesty isn’t opposed to a spot of Bingo.
So, let us take a look at how The Royals have influenced the popular game and whether or not Bingo itself is intertwined with the royal bloodline.
Bingo arrives in the UK
The earliest Lottery in the UK took place during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, between 1558 and 1603. The games were aimed mainly at rich people, but when the Puritans took over power in 1649, gambling was severely restricted and frowned upon. Games were forced underground, and it wasn’t until King Charles II was restored as King in 1660 that both public and private gambling rose in popularity, being run as businesses and as a way to make good profits.
Government schemes and Royal dreams
During the reign of Queen Anne, 1710 saw the government promote the first State Lottery as a way to boost their income. Popular newspapers would report large prizes being won, as well as delving into the background of those who won them. This would encourage poorer people to play, as they could then hope of winning life-changing amounts.
In 1716 the Lord Mayor of London prohibited women from dicing, but they still got away with it by carrying around wheels marked with numbers instead. These games remained popular until 1808. These games lie parallel to Bingo, as a large number of people, generally women, would get together to gamble. The first reliable description of a game of Bingo, however, dates back to around 1838.
Housey-Housey, Tombola and Lotto
The First World War broke out in 1914, and despite the government’s previous attempt to ban the games, descriptions of Bingo, then known as Housey-Housey, were found whilst reading the accounts of life from soldiers whilst they were in the armed forces. The men who returned from the war continued to play Housey-Housey, which later became a popular fairground attraction. Many of the familiar Bingo calls we hear today originate from the game’s time in the army.
The modern day
In the modern day, Bingo is played both online and at land-based Bingo halls for recreational purposes. Whilst you might often find games raising money for charity, generally, they are played just for fun. Themed games of Bingo allow us to live out our royal fantasies as we mark off images or words associated with The Monarchy. However, as we previously mentioned, the Queen herself is not opposed to a game of Bingo, enjoying playing with her family on special occasions like Christmas and Birthdays.
In addition to this, in 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared their love of Bingo with the residents at Shire Hall care home in Cardiff by putting their crowns to one side and taking on the all-important role of Bingo callers for an afternoon – a far cry from the games available during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I! It’s clear to see the royal love affair with games of chance is still making an impact.