Bingo Through the Centuries – 123 Bingo Online

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Bingo Through the Centuries

Bingo, the game many know from childhood or from Bingo halls, has a long (and sometimes confusing) history. What everyone agrees on is that it evolved from the state-run lottery of Italy, Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia in the 16th century. This lottery style game soon caught on all over Europe and by the late 18th century is was a favorite of the French intellectual set. The classic game had a playing card with the horizontal and nine vertical rows. Squares were numbered from 1-90, with four blank spaces. The caller would take tokens from a cloth bag and call the numbers. The first player to cover a horizontal row won.

The English were the next to adopt the Bingo craze. The story has it that John Stephens, an English archeologist, was traveling in Mexico when he came across a game called La Lotteria. His written account describes a game with a caller who drew numbered balls and players with large cards numbered from1-90 in rows. The British armed forces also claim Bingo as their own, learning it from the large garrison that was stationed in Malta. By the end of the 19th century, Bingo was being played under various names by the British: the navy called it Tombola and the army called it Housey-Housey.

But the name “Bingo” is completely American. Although accounts vary, what we do know is that in 1929, a traveling toy salesman from New York, Edwin Lowe, saw a game called Beano being played at a country fair in Jacksonville, Georgia. The caller pulled numbered wooden chips from a cigar box and the players would cover each number they had on their cards with a bean. When a player filled a line, vertically, horizontally or diagonally, the player would yell out “Beano!” One woman got so excited when she won that she tripped over the word and called out “Bingo!” instead. The caller told Lowe that the game was a variety of a lotto game he’d learned while with a carnival in Germany.

Lowe thought the game had possibilities and when he returned to New York, he devised his own version, which he sold to a large commercial toy and game firm. As with many inventions, there’s some dispute about this version, with the English claiming they used the term ‘bingo’ as early as 1928. Regardless of origins, the game became an instant hit, played at home in parlors and in halls around the country. Its popularity in England remained constant throughout the years, too.

Today, Bingo doesn’t look entirely different than it did centuries ago. Players use a board that typically has 25 rows numbered 1-75, with one blank space in the middle. The columns are labeled B, I, N, G and O. Savvy players often play multiple cards for each game, sometimes as many as thirty.

There was some concern among Bingo aficionados that the advent of online gaming would hurt the bingo halls. But the reverse is true. Online Bingo on sites like 123BingoOnline has actually made the game even more popular. Friendly chat hosts and chat rooms keep the game sociable and lively. There are often huge jackpots, bonuses and ongoing promotions. Even if you’re a fan of the in-person game and the pals you have there, online Bingo gives you the chance to make new friends and participate in lively games 24/7 in the comfort of your home. Play in your pajamas if you like. And that’s something you can’t do at the bingo hall!