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History of Bingo

History of Bingo
History of Bingo

The History of Bingo makes for an intriguing read. However, it seems we have to thank the Romans initially and then the Italians for Bingo as we know it today. 

Origins Of Bingo

Land-based Bingo and Online Bingo derive from Italy’s Lottery, Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia, which started in the 16th Century and is still active today.

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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, bingo numbers.

The Germans Do Bingo Too – Medieval Bingo Getting Organised

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, animal names and history.

So the Online Bingo games you’re playing today have had a long and diverse history. It has been around for five centuries, being both a leisure activity and stimulating those tiny grey cells.

Bingo Fever in Europe – Beano or Bingo?

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. For example, if a player covered a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line on their card, they would shout out “Beano” to claim their prize. Likewise, players in traditional Bingo halls call out “House” when complete lines of their numbers get called.

But as with most things, leave it to the Americans to see the potential. As we know it today, Bingo has a lot of credit due to Mr Edwin Lowe.

Modern Bingo – Edwin Lowe – Beano & Bingo

On a business trip, a travelling toy sales rep in Jacksonville 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 game’s potential and decided to introduce his friends to the game. So he bought some dried beans, a rubber numbering stamp, and cardboard.

A Piece of Bingo History – The Bingo Caller is Born

He assumed the “bingo caller” duty, and soon his friends played with the same intense excitement he’d observed at the carnival. One woman was tongue-tied when hitting a winning combination. She mistakenly cried out “BINGO”, 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 it had little chance of being protected once in the public domain.

The Origins of Bingo are now Complete.

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 we know today, including online Bingo.

Bingo Goes Online – History is Made

In 2003 UK Bingo brands introduced the first online bingo sites. The game’s popularity since has grown at a tremendous rate. Online Bingo developed to such an extent that it caused a drop in business for traditional land-based bingo games.

The first-ever online bingo site was Bingo Zone in the United States. Bingo Blitz followed it in the United Kingdom. Bingo Blitz is now a popular App-based bingo game.

There are traditionally two types of bingo games in the United Kingdom. There is the 90-ball bingo game and the 75-ball bingo game. However, new variations of bingo games get introduced regularly as Online Bingo is a natural medium to test and push boundaries.

We have seen bingo games with 80 balls, speed, and chat bingo games. In addition to this, new bingo variants get introduced.

Examples of online bingo variation games are as follows :

The Mobile Bingo Evolution

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 UK is the biggest online bingo market globally and is therefore subject to strict rules & regulations by operators. Because of this, there is less choice in venues & bonuses are being squeezed for every tax dollar possible.

The popularity of Bingo continues, and that can only mean one thing: the future of Bingo is hopefully safe for a further five centuries.

Bingo & Responsible Gambling

Even though most Bingo players do not regard Bingo as gambling, most states consider it a form of gambling. Within the History of Bingo, the regulation and governing of Online Bingo games have set a precedent for how Responsible Gambling should be conducted. Several countries have licensed and regulated online Bingo; of course, the United Kingdom is at the forefront.

Before the launch of the UKGC Online, Bingo was a bit of a wild west environment, with bingo operators simply doing as they pleased. However, that is no longer permissible, as there are strict player safety and gameplay rules to observe. In addition to this, there are Responsible Gambling rules that prohibit bingo sites from simply accepting and taking deposits without any checks being made.

UK Bingo players are now required to verify their identities. Know Your Customer is a strict requirement and prevents underage gambling. Another factor in Responsible Gambling is that bingo sites now have to check that players are not playing with money they can not afford to lose. That means bingo sites must ask questions about job status and income once a particular deposit or Net Revenue amount has been reached.

We consider this as the Modern History of Bingo as it has meant that bingo sites have had to adapt and conform to a host of legal requirements that they did not have to previously. In addition, it has led to changes in how bonuses and winnings get paid.

In the United Kingdom, because of taxation on bonuses, we initially saw a drop in Match Bonuses. That led to the rise of Free Spins & No Wagering Bingo. Players are now prohibited from reversing any cashouts, which also means a behaviour change. The last change, probably the most significant, is that within the UK, all wins must be paid out in a single payment. Bingo rooms can no longer pay amounts off over some time in the hope that a player would fritter away at a win amount.

The old and new history of the dynamic bingo game is fascinating, and we continue to see evolution and entertainment for players for many years.

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