History of Bingo Games

The History of Bingo for the Uninitiated

Did you know that Bingo as you play it today has a vivid and exciting past that might really interest you? It's come a long way through the ages from 14th century Italy to the US!

Bingo's ancestry can be traced back to the lottery of "Lo Giuocu del Lotto d' Italia" played since 1530 in Italy. Saturdays in Italy are still marked for "Lotto" which is what the lottery is known as today. The French upper classes took to the game with gusto in the late 1770's as it became more popular.

Now Bingo had three horizontal columns and nine vertical columns (a precursor to the modern day variation!). The 1800's saw the game mushroom widely into most of Europe where Bingo was also used as a means to coach children in math, spelling and even a bit of history!

It was in 1929 that the game of Bingo, or Beano as it was known then, reached the shores of America through a touring carnival. Beano required players to cover their numbers with beans while numbers were yelled out from a box. The person, who was lucky enough to win a line or a series of numbers, would shout “Beano!” and that was the beginning of the 75-ball version of Bingo.

New York toy salesman, Edwin. S. Lowe, who happened to be at an Atlanta, Georgia fair where beano was first played, saw the popularity of the game and was immediately attracted to it. Someone at the fair accidentally screamed “Bingo!” instead of “Beano” and the name stuck, as Lowe made it popular later as Bingo.

Lowe, together with Carl Leffler, a Columbia University Math professor, worked on the game to increase the possible number sequences in the Bingo cards, so that there were over 6,000 different Bingo cards available for play. Various styles of the Bingo Games were developed by the two, making the game even more popular.

Bingo got a further important boost when a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania approached them for using Bingo as a method for raising funds for the church. With Bingo being played in the churches, it spread even further among the public. It is estimated that the year 1934 saw around 10, 000 play bingo games being played per week.

Today, about 70 years later, bingo's popularity is still strong as ever. The game is as loved as it was before, only now, it can be played cozily within the comfort of your home as the popular online Bingo game.

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