Bingo Calls-Out With the Old, In With the New

Bingo has been a popular pastime in Britain since the 1950-s. Today a new generation of players has taken over the game and it is quite common to see young women in their 20-s in British bingo halls. The younger generation has changed the way some bingo numbers are called. Over the years bingo callers tries to liven up the games by using colorful phrases to represent various numbers. Today the old 1950-s bingo calls are going the way of Teddy Boys, the BBC Light Programme and antimacassars.

As bingo halls struggle to attract young players many of the old calls have been changed to be more relevant to the new bingo demographic. For example many callers have changed the call for number 71 from “bang on the drum” to “J Lo’s bum.” As most men know J Lo’s most famous ‘asset’ is her rear curves. Charlie Blake, the man who came up with the new calls used a Butlins holiday camps told the BBC “My task was to find reference points from 2003 society and culture which would have a much greater meaning to the British public today.” In the UK Butlins has played a great part in the popularization of bingo. The games became popular in the holiday camps that sprung up shortly after World War Two.

Players can say good bye to Tom Mix (Number 6), Danny LaRue (Number 72) and Jump and Jive (Number 35). Bingo players are saying hello to Gareth Gates (Number 8), Ali G (Number 30) and Jimmy Choo (Number 32). Other calls have been dropped because they could not keep up with the times. There have been other changes. In the mid 90s bingo went online and today there are about 400 online bingo sites competing for players. Young players today favor mobile devices for their bingo games. The technological challenges have been overcome and experts say that more people are playing bingo on mobile devices than desktop and laptop computers.

Some of the old calls have managed to survive the decades and are still used today. For example number 10 has been named after the current occupant of number 10 Downing Street the home of the British Prime Minister. The 1950s call of “Her Majesty’s Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Sir Anthony Eden’s den” was changed to “Tony’s den” during the rule of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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