Back in the 60’s, women and men used to mark a day off in their calendar once a week. An evening that saw them retreat into a cloud of smoke to socialize and to play bingo. Bingo halls back then were so Smokey, when they opened the door at closing time there was that much smoke coming out people thought a new Pope had been elected.

Fast forward 40 years, and other than not being allowed to smoke indoors, not much has changed. Every night of the week you’ll never find an empty bingo hall. Students go because it’s a relatively cheap night out with the chance of winning. Workers go once a week with a group of friends to avoid them growing apart, middle agers go with their now grown up children as oppose to going to Wacky Warehouse type places. Pensioners go to socialize with other like minded people.

Bingo is a very social game, and as such, firm friendships can be forged inside a hall. Race, Creed, Social Class, it all goes out of the window when you’re in the hall. When you are in there, every single one of you becomes uniform.

You’re gender neutral, have no hair, no clothes, no skin colour, no political ideologies, no prejudices.

Granted that isn’t physically true, but you get what I’m getting at.

In recent years, mainly due to the recession, Bingo has seen a massive surge in popularity, especially among the hard working middle classes who no longer can afford to go out every weekend. So instead, they are setting aside one night a month aside to get together with friends and play.

As bingo is a slow paced game, you can literally spend a good 4 or 5 hours playing the different variants that the hall offers and all for the grand sum of about £40 (as oppose to £200 on a bar crawl). Add into this about £20 for drinks and you’re onto a winner.

People enjoy playing bingo for many different reasons, and this is simply because it’s not a competition, you play in your own style, at your own pace, and you can play side games and do other things between games.

It’s a really chilled out way to spend an evening that doesn’t have to turn into a rave.

As smoking has become more and more taboo, bingo halls have also seen a rise in the more health conscious younger crowd too because they aren’t being subjected to a room full of second hand smoke.

Online bingo sites may be big at the minute, but there is one thing that they can’t offer, and that is the physical social side of things. Its all well and good typing away into a box in a chat room, but that doesn’t compare to physically being sat with someone and talking and interacting. Unless of course you are sat next to each other and playing bingo online!

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