Bingo Origins: Interesting facts you never knew

innerfacts22042015Did you know that Bingo was invented by a 6-year-old in 1957? You probably don’t know this because it actually wasn’t, we just made that up.

But…if you thought it was true, you definitely need to read this:

Today, we’re exploring the origins of Bingo: where it comes from, how it became the wonderful game we love to play today and where it might go in the future with interesting facts you might not have known or even heard before:

The French called it Le Lotto

While Bingo is played in the United States, the UK, and Canada, its birthplace can be traced to 19th century France. Back in 1778, Le Lotto ruled the gambling world. It involved cards with 27 squares (3 horizontal, 9 vertical squares). The rows featured 5 numbered squares. The columns featured the numbers 1 through 90. The game was very similar to Bingo. As numbers were called, chips were placed over the squares with those numbers. To win, all you needed to do was cover a row.

It was once called Beano

The word “Bingo” is so ubiquitous, it’s hard to believe that the game once shared a name with a gas and bloating prevention pill. But it’s true. Back in 1929, the game we know and love was called Beano. It was originally played in Germany and featured Bingo cards much like we know and love today. Except instead of covering the squares with chips, players used beans.

It was an answer to the stock market crash of 1929

People lost a ton of cash in 1929 when the stock market crash. That fueled a surged in gambling as people who were hit hard decided to turn to gambling to make some money back (not necessarily the smartest move, but that’s all in the past). Bingo proved to be hugely popular for helping people put food on the table.

It’s played in elementary school

Bingo is often associated with senior citizen homes and church basements. So you’d be surprised to learn that one of the biggest Bingo playing age groups are actually elementary school students. Back in the 19th century, educators used Bingo to teach kids to spell and multiply. Today, teachers use it to teach youngsters. Some preschools will even play versions of Bingo that involve farm animals, fruit, and shapes to help children identify objects.

There are still international variations

Bingo cards in the United States typically feature the numbers 1 through 75. Their UK counterpart, however, features the numbers 1 through 90. This is a tiny difference, but one that’s worth pointing out if you find yourself playing live bingo in a foreign land.