The top celebrities who love to play bingo

With a near 500-year history to call on, bingo has unquestionably stood the test of time as a popular entertainment activity.

Its roots can be traced back to a 16th century lottery game, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that it found its way to the United Kingdom and United States.

Some surprising celebrities have a link with bingo – Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Restrictive gambling regulations meant bingo was an underground activity during the next few decades, but public demand forced governments into legislative changes.

The introduction of the Betting and Gaming Act in the UK in 1960 fired bingo into another stratosphere over the next few decades.

Millions of people played bingo at least once a week, thus establishing the game as the number one pastime in the country.

There were bingo halls in every town and city, while the game was also played regularly in working men’s club and ex-armed services clubs.

At its height, around half a million people were playing bingo on a daily basis, but a shift in consumer habits around the turn of the millennium threatened to consign bingo to the dustbin forever.

People turned in their droves to other entertainment activities, leaving the commercial bingo industry counting the cost.

The launch of the internet proved to be bingo’s saviour, providing operators with a platform to attract a completely new demographic to the game.

They expertly tapped into the social aspect that made the game so popular in land-based venues to create hugely immersive online bingo sites.

Bingo has since re-established itself as a mainstream entertainment activity, with technology making it easier than ever to access the game.

From the ladies who play the game with friends and family, to elderly people who use it as a way to stay connected, bingo has returned with a bang.

Given its renewed popularity with the general public, it is no surprise to find that many celebrities have also latched onto the iconic game of bingo.

We take a look at some of the big stars who enjoy playing bingo or who have had some form of connection with the game.

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Zeta-Jones learned from an early age how many numbers in bingo there are and how the game has the power to generate big jackpots.

Her rise up the acting ranks was given a massive boost when her working-class parents won £100,000 in a bingo competition.

The Welsh-born actress has never forgotten what the game did for her, and continues to hold bingo parties with her family every Christmas.

She designs the cards, makes the numbered balls and organises the prizes, before hosting the games in her Westchester County home.

Husband Michael Douglas reportedly thinks bingo is thoroughly bizarre, but still plays along to keep his wife happy.

Matthew McConaughey

McConaughey demonstrated his class during 2020 – Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

McConaughey delighted the residents of an assisted living facility in Texas during 2020 when he joined them via Zoom for an evening playing bingo.

The actor had previously been asked to join them for a game, but work commitments prevented him from taking them up on the offer.

A break in filming schedules handed McConaughey some free time, and he quickly got in contact with the facility to organise a bingo session.

In addition to playing bingo, the Lincoln Lawyer star held a question and answer session about his life and plans for the future.

McConaughey enthusiastically threw himself into the event, putting a massive smile on the faces of the resident who took part.

Courtney Cox

Famed for her role as the ultra-competitive Monica Geller in US sitcom Friends, Cox has been spotted playing bingo on more than one occasion.

She took part in an “E-Bingo” Charity Benefit in aid of research into epidermolysis bullosa at the Comedy Store in Hollywood, California, during 2006.

The Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco also attended the event that raised thousands of dollars for the hugely worthwhile cause.

Cox has regularly been seen playing in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, and she often hosts games for her showbiz friends at home.

Paris Hilton, Ricki Lake and several other celebrities have enjoyed bingo sessions with Cox, further highlighting the game’s appeal.

Russell Crowe

Crowe burst onto the scene as an actor in 2000 when he played Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the blockbuster film Gladiator.

His rugged demeanour was in stark contrast to his first role in showbiz where he worked as the director of entertainment at holiday resort on Pakatoa Island.

Using the stage name Russ Le Roq, Crowe’s duties included calling out bingo numbers and performing songs to holidaymakers on the camp.

He was dismissed from the role for calling out inappropriate bingo rhymes, none of which are fit for repeating in this story.

Crowe put that early disappointment behind him to make his name in Gladiator and is now widely renowned for his excellent acting ability.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Manchester United and Portugal’s love of bingo date back to his first spell with the club when he was trying to settle in at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo was given a DVD version of bingo as a Christmas present and has admitted to using it to help him get to grips with the English Language.

While most of his teammates preferred to play games on Xbox or PlayStation, Ronaldo loved the simplicity of the iconic numbers game.

None of his United pals shared Ronaldo’s passion for bingo, which would no doubt have been a disappointment to him as he tried to integrate himself into the country’s culture.

However, his decision to play bingo paid off, as he now speaks English significantly better than most English people can speak Portuguese.

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