History of Bingo

12 Feb

bingo online historyBingo online is a fun game for all ages.

People usually play it in social halls and churches for charity purposes though many also play the game in bingo parlors to win cash and prizes. Even with its popularity, not everyone knows about its origins. So here’s a quick overview of the history of bingo.

The bingo online game as we know it today traces its roots back to an old Italian game of lottery called Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia, which was started in 1530. It was a national game held every week that contributed significantly to the government’s treasury.

By the 1700s, the French started their own version of the game. In this version, each player was given a card printed with 27 squares in an arrangement of three rows and nine columns. Each row contained five numbered squares and four blank ones. Meanwhile, each column had random numbers that ranged from 1 to 90 (numbers between one to ten were assigned for the first column, then 11 to 20 for the second one and so on). Quite like the how the game is played today, a host or caller would draw a series of numbers and read them aloud. The players then would check if they have the numbers on their respective card. The first one to complete a row was announced the winner.

This sort of lotto/bingo game became popular in many European countries. Interestingly, the game was given a different spin when it reached Germany. It became an educational tool for teaching children math (multiplication, primarily) and spelling.

In the 1920s, the game reached the United States where it earned the name “beano” because the players then used dried beans to mark the numbers on their card. It became a popular carnival game ran by Hugh J. Ward of Pittsburgh. Later on, Ward was able to secure a copyright on the game before writing a rule book in 1933 to standardize the game.

A toy salesman from New York, Edwin S. Lowe, popularized the game even more after he chanced upon it being played at a traveling carnival in Georgia. He became interested about the game and noticed how it was such a hit with the locals. Inspired by this, Lowe took the idea with him when he came back home. He started playing the “beano” game with his friends, who warmed up to the game as well. The name changed from beano to bingo when, at one time, a player shouted “Bingo!” instead of beano in great excitement. The rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

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