In the UK, Deal or No Deal became something of a classic TV game show. Hosted by Noel Edmonds, the box-opening show was oddly riveting, with players having to open boxes, seeing values of cash leave the board, and then eventually deciding if they should make a deal with the banker. Now we take a look back on the show of 23 boxes, its rise, its eventual fall, and its perfect transition from the television screen to that of laptops, mobiles, and tablets across the UK in the form of an online casino game.
Deal or No Deal becomes a daytime darling
The show got up and running in the UK on 31 October 2005. It was based on the Dutch show Miljoenenjacht (Hunt for Millions) and it captured a strong audience on Channel 4. In a wave of television shows that followed the format of Miljoenenjacht, American television channel NBC also launched a Deal or No Deal, arriving after the British version on 19 December 2005. As luck would have it, though, the US show would prove to feature the future Duchess of Sussex, Megan Markle, whose briefcase from the show, number 24, was recently set to be sold at auction for $6,548 (£5000).
The UK game was simple: there are 22 boxes containing varying but hidden amounts of prize money, don’t pick the ones with the highest values. As boxes were ticked off of the board by contestants revealing their values, an entity known as the banker would periodically call to offer the player a sum of money to stop playing. So, the idea was to whittle down the boxes to two high values, and either force the banker into making a high offer or gamble and guess which of the two boxes has the highest value prize. In 2014, the notorious Box 23 was introduced to bring another element of decision-making into the game.
The game show proved to be very popular, winning multiple daytime programme awards at prestigious events and forging record viewership figures for shows in its timeslot. When Channel 4 decided to call it a day on Deal or No Deal in 2016, it had shown almost 3000 episodes and had awarded £40 million in prizes.
Off the small screen and onto the smaller screen
Funnily enough, during Deal or No Deal’s television run, Channel 4 executives had to meet with the UK Gambling Commission to explain that the show was in accordance with gambling laws. Some cited the game show as being gambling due to it being luck-based rather than skill-based. This may have perked up the ears of a casino game developer, as it soon found a way into online casinos. The television show may be long gone, but now fans can play Deal or No Deal online and also for real-money prizes.
Deal or No Deal was famous for its ability to create electrifying tension and demand tough decisions from players on the show, and as the online game replicates these exciting situations, it has become very popular in its own right. The game now features 26 boxes with 13 big prizes and 13 smaller prizes and also features the banker’s phone call at set stages of the game.
Channel 4’s infamous Deal or No Deal entertained millions up and down the UK for 11 years as a television show, but now those fans can find themselves in the hot seat, replying to the offers of the banker and trusting their lucky box numbers.