There are probably very few things in this world as closely tied to British culture as tea. Tea is a national obsession, with the UK having consumed 165 million cups a day since the 18th century. Taking a spot of afternoon tea with some light finger sandwiches and biscuits has become synonymous to British culture, but while tea has seeped into nearly everything, another pastime has been quickly gaining a following: bingo.
Many will remember bingo as a game that’s often associated with bored old ladies in retirement homes, but recently, the bingo industry has seen significant change. The average bingo player is now a 38-year-old woman, and in the UK, the bingo industry accounts for nearly $557 million of the $3.2 billion online gambling industry. According to Free Bingo Hunter, a service dedicated to cataloguing online bingo websites in the UK, there are now over 300 portals operating out of the UK alone – figures backed up by the BBC, who says that the number of online bingo sites in the UK has grown from less than 20 in 2004 to over 350 in 2013.
If you’d like to experience these two extremely British pastimes together, Mar-Maladies has come up with a quirky little Tea Time Bingo game that you can print out to play at your next tea party. Rather than have numbers on the bingo card, there are terms related to bingo, but other than that, the rules are the same. The first to complete a bingo pattern wins, and you can decide to give out a prize of your choice. It could be tea sets or fresh tea bags, or a free afternoon tea at their favorite tearoom.
Tea time and bingo have crossed paths in the past, with Billy Corgan, who many will remember as the frontman of the Smashing Pumpkins, hosting bingo nights at his tea shop in Illinois for a time. While the events weren’t too popular in the US despite local celebrities playing host to the games, tea and bingo continue to persevere in the UK, and there is little doubt that these two pastimes will remain part of British culture for years to come.
Post by Sheen Dillon. Sheena has been working as a freelance writer ever since she graduated from University in New York. Now she spends her time at home knitting, watching nature documentaries and playing bingo.
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image submitted by the author.