Around the World in 90 Balls: The Traveller’s Guide to Bingo

Around the World in 90 Balls: The Traveller’s Guide to Bingo

It’s always reassuring to know that, wherever your travels may take you, there will always be some familiar elements. So, when you’re far from home and missing the old country a little, you’ll be able to find something to reconnect you.

And what could be more typically British than bingo? It’s a game that’s been hugely popular from the late 1940s onwards when halls started to open up and down the country, often in old cinemas. You could even be forgiven for thinking that it’s a British game but, like McDonald’s and trick or treating, it’s an American import.

Just like those two examples which have spread around the world, so has bingo. However, there are some differences in the ways that you’ll find it being played and here’s a whistle-stop guide to what you can expect.


The Scandinavian countries are some of the most sparsely populated in northern Europe – outside of the main cities at least. That’s why in Sweden and Denmark online bingo is so popular. It gives players in remote areas the chance to enjoy their favourite game tucked up in the warm, even in the Arctic Circle. Naturally, with no limitations, there are plenty of varieties on offer too. For those craving “live” games, there are many drive-in bingo events throughout the summer, taking advantage of the long, long hours of evening light.


If you ever find yourself involved in a game in Germany and find yourself tempted to shout out “Haus” when you’ve completed a card, please don’t. The word they use is “voltreffer” which, roughly translated, means “bullseye” or “direct hit”. Many Germans are very familiar with the game as most will have experienced it as a maths teaching aid when they were at school.


Theoretically, all gambling is against the law in Japan. However, recently there has started to be a more liberal approach in the country with several closely controlled casino licences being issued. Even the country’s real passion, pachinko, has a complicated system of exchanging tokens for prizes instead of handing them over directly. But never fear, online bingo is also very popular and Japan is also where the biggest game ever was played with over 493,000 people taking part.

blue sky plane


It’s only logical that the country that has been playing lotto-style games since the 16th century should still be so keen on bingo. In those days it was introduced to raise taxes for the king. Today’s bingo is a big hit with younger generations who flock to the country’s 300+ halls to get their fix of the traditional 90-ball game.


In Russia, you’ll be able to play from the comfort of your hotel room thanks to the weekly televised game that has been running since 1994. It’s one of the very few state-sanctioned forms of gambling in the country, hence its huge popularity and correspondingly generous prizes.

So hopefully this has given you a quick guide to playing bingo on your travels, and here’s hoping that if you get a game it will help to boost your travel money!







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