The History of Bingo makes for an intriguing read. It seems we have to thank the Romans initially, and then Italians for Bingo as we know it today.
Both land based bingo plus online bingo, derive from Italy’s Lottery, Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia, started in the 16th Century and still going strong today.
Interesting Bingo Articles
Origins of Bingo – Medieval Bingo
Bingo made its way around Europe, with the French Aristocracy adding a bit of their own “Jeune Ce Que” in the 18th Century, by adding playing cards and tokens and the reading-out or ‘calling’, as we know it today of bingo numbers.
By the 19th Century, the practical Germans had developed different forms of bingo for educational purposes. The aim was to aid children in spelling, multiplication as well as animal names and history.
So the Online Bingo games you’re playing today has had a long and diverse history which has been around for five centuries, being both a leisure activity as well as stimulating those ‘little grey cells’.
Bingo fever spread throughout Europe and was a favourite game at County Fairs and carnivals, where the game was called Beano, a game where a “pitchman” or “caller”, pulled small numbered wooden discs from a cigar box. Players would use Beans to cover numbers when called if they matched the number called.
If a player managed to cover a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line on their card, they would shout out “Beano” to claim their prize.
Players in traditional Bingo halls call out “House” when full lines of their numbers got called.
But as with most things, leave it to the Americans to see the potential. Bingo, as we know it today, has a lot of credit due to a Mr Edwin Lowe.
Modern Bingo – Edwin Lowe – Beano & Bingo
A travelling toy sales rep who was in Jacksonville on a business trip happened upon a travelling carnival where he observed the “Beano” game for the first time.
He saw how mesmerised and engaged players were, so much so that he never got a chance to play himself and the “pitchman” had to throw people out at 3 am.
In a conversation with the pitchman, he learned that the man had seen Beano being played in Germany the previous year, noticing what a crowd-pleaser it was, decided to introduce it to carnival goers in America.
Mr Lowe, a New Yorker, saw the potential of the game and decided to introduce his friends to the game. He bought some dried beans, a rubber numbering stamp, and some cardboard.
He assumed the “caller” duty, and soon his friends were playing with the same fervent excitement he’d observed at the carnival. One woman was tongue-tied when hitting a winning combination, she mistakenly cried out “BINGO” and as they say….” the rest is HISTORY.”
The earliest Lowe Bingo game came in 2 variations a 12 card set which cost a dollar & a 24 card set for two dollars.
His success with the game brought out many imitators, but once in the public domain, it had little chance of being protected.
Lowe dealt with the issue graciously and asked his competitors to pay him a dollar a year to call their games BINGO too. That resulted in BINGO becoming the generic name for all variations that we know today, including online bingo.
Online Bingo Goes Live
In 2003 UK Bingo sites introduced the first online bingo sites, the game’s popularity since has grown at an astounding pace. Online Bingo developed to such an extent that it has caused a drop in business for traditional land-based bingo games.
In the United Kingdom, there are traditionally two types of bingo game on offer. There is the 90 ball bingo game as well as the 75 ball bingo game.
New variations of bingo games get introduced regularily as Online Bingo is a natural medium to test and push boundaries.
We have seen bingo games that have 80 balls and speed bingo games as well as chat bingo games. In addition to this, new bingo variants are introduced. Examples of this are Lucky Numbers Bingo and Rainbow Riches Bingo.
With the advent of the smartphone, online bingo evolved yet again. Mobile Bingo games are now also on offer to bingo players in areas where it is legal to play online bingo.
The popularity of Bingo continues, and that can only mean one thing, that is the future of Bingo is safe for a further five centuries.