The First Bingo Hall

innerfirst31082015These days, bingo halls are practically everywhere. From small towns to major cities and everywhere between, bingo fever has spread around the globe, and it’s shown no signs of slowing down in the years to come. Over the years, the formula for bingo halls has been refined and adjusted to meet the specific needs of bingo enthusiasts.

Today, you’ll probably notice plenty of similarities in the layout and offerings of bingo establishments no matter where your hobby may lead. This wasn’t always the case, however. Way back when, when the iPhones were made of wood and the only web was the kind made by spiders, someone, somewhere had a brilliant idea to take bingo out of the backrooms and basements and establish the world’s very first bingo hall. Unfortunately, no scribes were present to document this momentous event, so we’re left to postulate what we believe this glorious establishment may have looked like. Let’s get started.

The Outside
We’re pretty sure that the first bingo hall didn’t have the luxury of flashing neon signs or shiny LED boards to attract customers, so the owner must have relied on good old fashioned word-of-mouth to get people in the doors. Was there a poorly painted sign that said ‘Bingo Here!’ hanging above the door? We’d like to think so, but don’t be afraid to let your imagination be your guide.

The Equipment
With commercially produced mechanical ball draws pretty difficult to find, we’re guessing that the first bingo hall likely relied on some alternative measures to randomly draw numbers during bingo games. No, we’re not talking about today’s fancy electronic random number generators. Instead, a top hat or ceramic jug would likely have done the trick. Since ping pong balls were still a pretty rare item at the time, numbers could have been written on slips of paper or small pieces of wood. That famous sound of ping pong balls rotating in the draw wouldn’t have been available, but every pioneer has to make sacrifices, right?

The Caller
Today, bingo callers utilize electronic sound systems to ensure that everyone in the game can hear the numbers being called. In most cases, video boards display the numbers as well. The first bingo hall didn’t have these conveniences. Instead, we’re guessing that the caller at the very first bingo hall was someone with powerful vocal chords that could withstand the wear and tear of nearly non-stop shouting night after night. Perhaps a yodeler or a hog caller would fit the bill. Unfortunately, that brave soul’s true identity has been lost to history.

One thing that is commonly accepted about the first bingo hall is the marker of choice. In those days, paint markers weren’t available, so they turned to the next best thing: beans. This love affair with bean markers even led to the game being known as Beano for some time.

While the true identity of the world’s first bingo hall may be a mystery, there’s little doubt about its effect on today’s gaming industry. Bingo has never been more popular, and much of that success comes as a direct result of the first bingo hall.