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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 Italians for Bingo as we know it today. 

Origins Of Bingo

Both land-based Bingo plus online Bingo derive from Italy’s Lottery, Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia, which started in the 16th Century and still going strong 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 has 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 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 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

A travelling toy sales rep 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 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 were playing 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”, 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 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 that 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 had caused a drop in business for traditional land-based bingo games.

The first 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.

In the United Kingdom, there are traditionally two types of bingo games on offer. There is the 90 ball bingo game and the 75 ball bingo game.

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 and speed bingo games 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.

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