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About Bingo

About Bingo

In the U.S., bingo was originally called “beano”. It was a country fair game where a dealer would select numbered discs from a cigar box and players would mark their cards with beans. They yelled “beano” if they won.

The game’s history can be traced back to 1530, to an Italian lottery called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia,” which is still played every Saturday in Italy. From Italy the game was introduced to France in the late 1770s, where it was called “Le Lotto“, a game played among wealthy Frenchmen. The Germans also played a version of the game in the 1800s, but they used it as a child’s game to help students learn math, spelling and history.

When the game reached North America in 1929, it became known as “beano”. It was first played at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. New York toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe renamed it “bingo” after he overheard someone accidentally yell “bingo” instead of “beano”. He hired a Columbia University math professor, Carl Leffler, to help him increase the number of combinations in bingo cards. By 1930, Leffler had invented 6,000 different bingo cards. [It is said that Leffler then went insane.]

A Catholic priest from Pennsylvania approached Lowe about using bingo as a means of raising church funds. When bingo started being played in churches it became increasingly popular. By 1934, an estimated 10,000 bingo games were played weekly, and today more than $90 million dollars are spent on bingo each week in North America alone.

Online Bingo has a fairly short history; the game of bingo itself dates back to the 16th century in Europe. Originating in Italy, bingo sprung from the Italian game Lo Giuocco del Lotto D’Italia which is a kind of lottery. This game later spread to France which was known at Le Lotto by that time, and further to Germany which was used as educational technique to teach children mathematics!

As the game evolved over the years after, bingo became a popular pastime in carnivals and fairs as a game called Beano which by the 1900s was being played in America as well.

Beano was discovered and marketed by Edwin Rowe, a traveling toy salesman from New York. He discovered the game while passing through a fair in Georgia, USA and was fascinated about how addicting the simple game was. He created the first bingo set with 12 bingo cards, which he began to sell at one dollar per game. This later evolved into a bigger edition with 24 bingo cards which were sold for two dollars. While playing the game with friends in his New York home, a player excitedly called out Bingo instead of Beano, which changed the name of the game forever.

Bingo was later adapted as a game for fund-raising purposes by a Catholic priest, who also discovered that Lowe should come up with more number combinations on the bingo cards to prevent double winnings and prize-sharing. Lowe then approached a Columbia University mathematician who helped him come up with at least 6,000 bingo card combinations per game. As the bingo game gained popularity, especially at churches, across the country, an instructional manual was then published and a bingo news letter called The Blotter was also developed.

Lowe never had any luck registering the trademark Bingo under his name since it was already under the public domain. During the 1930s, bingo was being played in America and in the UK at motion picture theaters before a movie was played. This became a great way to promote the theaters as bingo cards were distributed if you bought a movie ticket because it gave you a chance to win a prize during the bingo game before the show started.

In the mid-1900’s, bingo had gained worldwide popularity, and by 1968 the UK Gaming Act officially made it a formal game form in the United Kingdom. As more people played it in churches and fairs, more and more people were exposed to the simple yet addicting game that was taking the world by storm. By 1986, the National Bingo Game in the UK was legalized. This allowed for even more bingo game playing in public places and as a means to raise money for charities and other organizations. In 2003, the first UK on Line Bingo was launched, where today, more than 3 million people play the game of bingo online regularly.

Online bingo gaming has now become so popular, not only in the UK but around the world, and has drawn in millions of players worldwide to participate in virtual bingo games to win money and various other prizes on the internet.

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