The Origins of Bingo | History of Bingo

It is easy to assume that things have always been the way they are now. However, this is rarely the case. Everything changes over time, including free bingo. But do you know its origin? If not, you are in for a treat. Bingo has one of the most fascinating and complex histories. In fact, you will struggle to find a backstory as multi-faceted as that of bingo. If you are interested in knowing how bingo came to be, keep reading for a short history on bingo.

Origins of Bingo in Italy in the 16th Century

Bingo goes back, way back to the 1500s when the Italians formulated a cross between bingo and lottery which was called. However, the game did not stay there. Today, it is still played every Saturday. It differed from traditional lotteries in the sense that players were given scorecards instead of having to guess the numbers themselves. While this was only a primary form of bingo, it has without a doubt set the scene for bingo as we know it.

Bingo Came to France in the 18th Century

For a decent amount of years, the Italian version of bingo was only played by Italians. However, over time it slowly but surely started to make its way across the continent. During the 18th century France was particularly taken with a bingo variety that was called Le Lotto. While the game still had some similarities to the Italian version, it was closer to the game of bingo as we know it today.

Origins of Bingo in Germany in the 19th Century

While the French and Italians were mainly playing the early forms of bingo for fun, the Germans were adapting the game for use in education. Bingo formed an integral part of the classroom during the 19th century. To this day, bingo is used in classrooms.

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America in the 20th Century

It was in the 20th century that bingo (or beano as it was initially known) reached the United States. The game was called beano because it was played with beans instead of money. The games were also limited to carnivals that travelled all over the country.

It was here that Edwin S. Lowe saw potential. He noticed that there were too many winners per game and decided to partner with a mathematician to increase the number of blocks on a ticket and reduce the number of winners per game. They created 6000 standard tickets for commercial use.

The story of how the name changed form beano to bingo is also rather coincidental. One of the players was so excited when they won that they yelled bingo instead of beano. The name stuck and the rest is history.

Final Thoughts

Bingo is one of the oldest gambling games in the world. While it started in Italy, it soon crossed borders to France, Germany and eventually America. Once in America, the game really started to take off. In fact, around 10 000 Americans played bingo every week.  These numbers have only increased with time.

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