How Bingo is Played Around the World

Lots of bingo balls orbiting a silver and gold earth

There are almost an endless amount of variations of this classic game– nearly every aspect of the game can be changed up or customised, from the number of balls to the venue and theme and even the lingo that goes with the game. No matter what country you’re from or what language you speak, bingo is still bingo.

What comes to mind when you think of this game? For some it is the stereotype of grannies and grandpas huddled around long tables in the evenings trying to pass the time with a little excitement. For others, it might be a game that you don’t really think about at all. But to more than 100 million people who play it around the world, it might be a fun and exciting hobby that they indulge in frequently, and you could too. It has been a popular game for decades and, as the game evolves to meet trends and the demands of players, has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity. People from all over the world are making their way to halls and searching for new online casinos that offer the game of bingo– and depending on where you are from, you might find a slightly different version to the one that people from other countries enjoy playing.

Let’s take a look at the history of the game in different countries, and how the game changed and adapted for each of them.


Italy, as we all know, is known best around the world for its food and fashion innovations. What you might not know though is that Italy is said to have invented the earliest form of the game. The first iteration was a game known as ‘Gioco del Lotto’ and was created in the 16th century. The game remains popular in Italy today – with the 90 ball version being the most popular variant in the country. Italy is home to over 300 official halls across the country and it is becoming increasingly popular among younger citizens who are starting to spend more time playing it at local halls. Furthermore, online bingo has taken off in Italy since it was legalised in 2007, making the game more popular than ever, and it is showing no signs of slowing down.


Bingo and Germany have had a long history together, with the game being introduced in the country all the way back in the 1880s. Since then the game in Germany has developed into a similar variation of the way it is played in the UK. It was originally called ‘der Lottospiel’ in Germany, and instead of yelling ‘bingo’ when a player had won, Germans would yell ‘volltreffer!’. For Germany, it had more to it than just being a popular and fun game to play with your friends and family – they also used it as an educational tool and a teaching method in schools. It was primarily used to teach mathematics and spelling but eventually, the Germans found ways of using it to teach other subjects such as history. Its popularity skyrocketed as a result of this newfound teaching method across citizens of all age groups, as a learning tool making its way into other countries too.


Pittsburgh Skyline at night

America is home to one of the world’s most popular and famous gambling destinations – Las Vegas – so it’s no surprise that the game would come to flourish here. America claims itself to be the ‘modern home’ of the game and since the game has been played in the states since the 1920s, they’ve got some experience with it for sure. After appearing at carnivals in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania the game was actually copyrighted and a number of versions of the game were released and manufactured during the ’30s and ’40s. Churches would often utilise the popularity and format of the game as a way to generate funding for the church, and charities found it useful for generating funding too. America, much like Germany, has also used the game format in the past for educational purposes – teaching children about times tables, animal names, spelling, and even history.  

The United Kingdom

The game entered into the UK sometime in the 1960s, and the traditional hall became a serious trend ever since. The game was so popular in the UK that it is known as one of the most passionate countries about the game in the world. The UK, in particular, has seen the stereotype of it being for the elderly go out the window, and the youth have embraced the hobby as one of their own favourite games to play – both online and offline. One of the greatest trends to come out of the game in the UK is some of the lingo that came with it. Traditionally a 90-ball game has the caller reading out numbers from 1 to 90 as they are drawn – but over time the language of the game developed and instead of simply calling ‘88’ the caller would say ‘two fat ladies, 88’.  


The game has even managed to create massive trends in the east, with Japan being one of the biggest players. It might not surprise you but gambling laws in Japan are remarkably strict, and most forms of gambling are forbidden – with pachinko, lotteries, and sports betting being some of the few exceptions. Recently the country has become a bit more lenient in their stance towards gambling, and casino resorts are now allowed within the country. It, however, is still subject to some pretty strict rules, and so halls and land-based games aren’t very popular. This brings us to online games and how much the Japanese love it. The biggest ever game of online bingo was set in Japan with almost half a million players taking part in a single game. Japan is particularly fond of the 75-ball variant of the game and has a ton of options online when it comes to finding a site to play on.

Tokyo building lights at night


Most countries have mainly two options for finding a game to play – there are either halls, or you can play online. In Russia, there is a third option for players to get a game in, and that option is on the TV. Russian Lotto is a popular Russian TV show that has been running since 1994 and includes prizes for winners and a special jackpot for a winning ticket that hits a full house in the first 15 draws. The land-based game is still popular despite being able to play from the comfort of your living room, and there are halls operating across the country. With most forms of gambling being banned in Russia, it seems to be the game of choice for the Russian public.

So, wherever you are from, and whatever language you speak, you have at least one thing in common with the rest of the world – and that is enjoying this classic game. If you want to try your luck and maybe try some variants on this classic game, then why not try out one of our bingo rooms online at Mecca Bingo?

We’re here to help you keep it fun – remember to set your deposit limit. Click here for more details on the safer gambling tools available including reality checks and the ability to take a break from your gaming.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *