BingoClegg and Cameron’s Den — number 10; Is that what we would call it nowadays? The world of online bingo calls is an interesting world, full of historical titbits, trivia and geographical quirks. There’s no doubt about it, they add fun and laughter to any bingo game — and let’s face it, proceedings could get slightly monotonous without them.

Like the police use the Charlie Tango Bravo phonetic alphabet, which helps the spelling of words to be heard above radio static, it is also thought that bingo calls evolved as a way to help players hear them in noisy environments. For instance, 43 could sound very similar to 33 if you were at the back of a crowded bingo hall with excited players and clinking glasses.

The nicknames for bingo calls can be classified into two categories. The first is by reference, and the second is by rhyme. Names in the first category often refer to historical events, famous people and pop culture. For instance, in the UK, No 10 Downing Street is the number of the house where the Prime Minister lives, and over the years, the call has changed to reflect whoever is in power. Depending on the political swingometer at the time, this call will usually solicit cheers or boos.

Of course, this call wouldn’t be relevant anywhere else in the world, and it would be curious to see a list of global bingo calls just see how much they differentiate. Now there’s a job for a budding historian. Plenty of bingo calls rely on rhymes — garden gate number 78, ticketyboo, 62 — although it is interesting to see new calls that reflect bang up-to-date pop culture beginning to emerge. 33, Ali G anyone?

52, chicken vindaloo? In the world of online bingo, certain sites opt to have bingo calls, whereas others omit them all together. And in this era of political correctness, it makes sense that the lists online bingo sites stick to use slightly tamer nicknames than some of the bawdier language found in social clubs and seaside towns. However, it can be fun and interesting to flit between the various bingo sites to hear just how different the calls can be — and of course, if you’re fed up of hearing the call, you can always turn the sound off! In summary, bingo calls are an important, but not essential part of the game. They represent an interesting snapshot of a society at any time and should certainly be kept alive. However, with the massively increasing demand for online bingo, it doesn’t look like our beloved calls will be going anywhere too soon.

This news post was written by Tracey Trevors on July 30, 2010