Bingo has come a long way since it was first played in 1530. Today Bingo Games have many different formats and variations, and can be played online as well.

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Bingo's Origins in Italy

Most agree that Bingo was first played in an Italian lottery called "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia". The game appears on record around 1530 in the late Renaissance Italy. It is said to have developed from a game known as Lotto. which in Italian means “destiny or fate”. It was first played in a period during a corrupt election that needed a fresh way to select a leader. Numbers were chosen randomly and the person who had that specific number would then be the new leader purely by fate.

The Game Moves to Europe

Bingo then moved to France where it became known as "Le Lotto". Bingo is still today played in France every Saturday in a similar fashion as we play nowadays. It is played with a playing card, numbers called live and tokens.

In the 1800s Bingo became very popular in Europe. The most popular form of Bingo that was played involved having to divide a card into one hundred squares with 3 rows placed horizontally and 9 rows placed vertically. The 3 rows shown horizontally have 5 squares in each row with numbers and 4 blocks that are blank.

The numbers were printed on wooden chips and placed in a bag before they were called. The caller then selects a chip out of the bag without looking and then calls out the number selected. The aim of Bingo is to first have all your rows completed by match all numbers that were called out to the numbers on your card. The squares that were blank were known as free squares which will be found in the bingo we know and love today.

The Germans also played a version of the game in the 1800s, but they used it as a child's game to help students learn math, spelling and history.

Bingo Moves to America

Beano became very well known in carnavals around American carnivals by 1929. Back in the day they played Bingo with beans that were dried up, some cardboard and a rubber number stamp, and apart from calling out “Bingo!” winning players shouted “Beano!”. The game is suspected to have appeared in Georgia first, but soon became popular within the American Midwest.

The very popular Bingo game today was introduced for the first time by a New York toy salesman, Edward Lowe who initially licensed bingo cards in the 1930's, which made it easier for operators to run these games. He renamed it "Bingo" instead of "Beano" after he overheard someone accidentally shout bingo! The license to his trademark "bingo" game was $1 yearly, which later proved to be a clever marketing tactic to make Lowe's name recognizable in the marketplace. Lowe then hired a Columbia University math professor, Carl Leffler, to assist him in increasing the amount of different combinations found on bingo cards. By 1930, Leffler had invented 6,000 different bingo cards.

By the 1940's bingo games had extended to Canada and the US. Every week Bingo was played by thousands of people especially in civic gathering places and churches.

Modern Bingo

Bingo today are played in a variety of different formats and you can now play them online as well. Bingo tickets are sold similar to the tickets of the lotto. The Bingo player will receive a proof of purchase with their unique numbers on it, similar to that of a bingo card. Draws are taken place everyday or once a week and was shown on TV with bigger prizes that were much harder to win.

A different type of Bingo is sold often as a scratch and win type card game. The numbers are drawn prior to the tickets being sold and are revealed once you scratch the cards. In lotteries using online networks, the price is confirmed electronically to avoid fraud.

It was once discovered that for every player who visits a casino, ten will visit a bingo hall, that's how popular this game is. Bingo is now even more popular due to the fact that it is such a simple game to play. Progressive Jackpots are much higher in an Online game than in Bingo Halls.




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Last Updated 28 April 2017
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