What on Earth Is Slingo?

The English language is truly labyrinthine. Like all languages, it is mailable, socially rooted and unbound by an entirely concrete set of rules beyond the basics. Technology is often the catalyst for the evolution of language.

The internet, specifically, has completely changed the way in which language evolves. Internet users quickly adopt new quirks of language, including new words.

While the technological influence on language is all around us, very few of us have the inclination to actually unearth the reasoning behind new words and terms of phrase. Some are easier to dig into than others. For instance, in the world of online gambling, the word ‘slingo’ has gained traction.

Its origins are not too hard to uncover, but the fact that a new word has made its way into the language of a social and cultural group with such ease reflects on the way in which language change can be seeded.

The Basics

Slingo actually refers to something very specific: a type of online gaming not unlike bingo. Slingo is undoubtedly a product of the internet. It was first created by the developer Slingo from the UK. The games are diverse, but essentially consist of a combination of bingo and slots.

Players essentially play on a slot machine in order to allocate themselves grid squares in a bingo game. The element of chance associated with slot machines combined with the excitement of bingo creates a rather exciting style of gaming not dissimilar to roulette.

And yet, as a game, slingo is pretty dull. It’s prevalence is largely attributed to its morish play style and accessibility. There is, according to Games brief, a certain inevitability to the success of slingo. Its rise is tied to the social need for excitement and gratification. It does not purport to be a narrative game or a test of skill, but rather a dopamine machine; offering the chance to get a casual kick out of low stakes betting.

Beholden to Technology

Slingo was developed by a real estate agent in his basement during the early 1990s. According to legend, the amateur inventor had an idea for a new television game show that combined bingo with casino gaming. In order to demonstrate his new idea to television executives, the unnamed inventor commissioned a computer emulation of the game, which he ultimately saw as taking a more corporeal form.

Television executives passed on the idea, but technology provided it with a new springboard: the internet. The early 1990s were boom years for developers utilizing the internet. Early pioneers realized that slingo could be a popular component of the online casinos that were in their infancy.

The ability of developers to market their games as embeddable and highly customizable elements on casino websites has enabled the rise of slingo. The best slingo casino games are available across platforms, and are usually extremely eye-catching.

The emerging market of internet gambling was essential to the rise of slingo. It simply came along by chance at exactly the right time. Now we have a new word, a new game and another example of how language and technology are inseparably linked in their evolution.


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