Well, kinda. It’s one of those ‘not really a ban’ bans. Although playing Bingo on a Sunday in Iceland was technically against the law, it was unlikely that the bingo police were going to bash your door down if someone shouted out legs eleven. Still, as the saying goes ‘it’s the principle of the thing!’ and according to various news reports, an Atheist organization named Vantrú sought to overturn the 1997 law that made it illegal for Icelanders to gamble, hold dances or host private parties on Sundays and religious holidays.
Imagine, for instance, not being able to buy a lottery ticket just because it’s Sunday? Can you think of anything worse? Can you?!? Well okay maybe you can but it’s still a minor inconvenience so pass me the placard and tell me which direction to march in!
Thankfully, as it turns out I can put the placard holding on hold. With justice (and bingo) in mind an MP of the Independence Party as well as a former Icelandic Attorney General introduced a bill to ditch this archaic law, and it was widely supported by members of parliament. The reversal of the law means that you’re now free to shake your bingo balls from dusk till dawn without fear of the fuzz taking down your particulars. Other aspects of the law have also been reverses such as a ban on small garages, shops and grocers opening on a Sunday, so it looks like everyone’s a winner. Congratulations Iceland!
A fascinating fact that I just made up is that you’re never more than 10 feet away from a copy of the Guinness Book of Records. That’s assuming it’s still even sponsored by or affiliated with Guinness nowadays. Times change and all that jazz. Maybe they’ve hitched their wagon to a fracking company instead. The Infrastrata PLC Book of Records, anyone? All joking aside though, if your childhood was anything like mine, you had a Guinness Book of Records handy, and a keen interest in who had achieved what, when and how records-wise. With that healthy curiosity in mind, let us explore the wacky world of BINGO WORLD RECORDS!
1) Largest Online Game of Bingo
Online bingo is exceedingly popular. Even in the chat rooms, depending on the time of day, things can get seriously busy as people are gearing up to get their bingo groove on. So sure, we’ve all played alongside a good number of fellow bingo addicts online, but there’s ‘a lot’ of people and ‘A LOT’ of people. The record for the highest number of people in a game of online game, was set on 3rd September 2010 by an online Tokyo based social media group and came in at a staggering 493,824 people in total! Good luck winning that one!
2) Biggest Balls!
While declaring that you have big bingo balls would usually get you a restraining order or a doctors prescription, on this particular occasion it was a good thing. And to top it off ITV’s own Coronation Street even got in on the act. In a novel approach to raising money for Male Cancer Awareness Week in 2014, Gala Bingo decided to break the record for playing a game of bingo with the biggest bingo balls. Using Corrie as the location the 60.1cm bingo balls were throws from the windows in what must have been a rather surreal scene. Still, they broke the record and raised £10,000 for their troubles. A good deed for a good cause. Now get checking your balls.
3) Largest Bingo Card
If the thought of those big balls has got you hot under the collar, let’s bring down the temperature with a somewhat less exciting ‘Worlds Biggest Bingo Card’ record, again set in 2014. Gala were at it again with this one and at their VIP festive ball no less (no, I’d never hear of it either). A host of reality TV stars* joined the fun and frivolity as a bingo card measuring 4.98m in length, and 1.99m in width was unfurled for all to see. It sounds rather anticlimactic in a way as it’s justa big card on the ground really, but £6,041 was raised for the Royal Voluntary Service, so that’s something!
4) World’s Highest Game of Bingo
No, not the Snoop Dog kind of highest game of bingo, though that sounds like it’d be something worth seeing too. We’re talking altitude here. I’ve done my fair share of trekking but it’s never occurred to me to turn to a game of bingo while many thousands of feet above sea level. For the 24 Gala Coral employees who trekked to the top of Mount Everest though, a game of bingo at the height of 17,500ft was just what the doctor ordered! As part of that they also helped to raise £100,000 for Sue Ryder Care. Impressive stuff!
5) World Biggest Bingo Hall Prize
While online bingo prize money can certainly boggle the mind, playing at a bricks and mortar venue isn’t all about small £50 prizes either. Just ask Soraya Lowell, who in 2008 won a mind boggling £1,167,795 at The Club 3000, in Coatbridge, Scotland. This was the National Bingo Game Platinum Jackpot at the time. If ever there was a ‘that’ll do nicely’ moment in bingo, it was surely this. I’m sure the Guinness Book of Records certificate means a lot to Soraya, hanging there on her living room wall (unless she keeps it in the toilet). Possibly not as much as the money though!