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A brief history of modern bingo as we know it today

22nd July 2019 Print

Bingo, as we know it today, has its origins in a game of chance of the 1500s. Since then it has traversed a long path and went through many transformations to reach its popularity in modern times be it bingo halls all over the world or even online on top rated sites like Tambola

Do you want to know how Bingo came to be the favorite game of millions of players around the world? Then read on!

A Lottery of the 16th Century

The Italian government is the inventor of the modern-day Bingo. The Italian national lottery or the "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia" of the 1530s played at state-run casinos provided the inspiration for the game. The Italian government used the lottery to raise money for public works and still earn handsomely even in the present day. 

Players had to guess the numbers that would come up in the draw wheels. The draw wheels were named after Italian cities like Naples, Venice, Rome, and Milan. 

Europe Picks Up the Trend

The French upper-class got introduced to the Italian lottery during the 1700s. People used to meet once a week to play with cards that had nine columns and three rows. The rows had five numbers and four blank squares and the person to finish a row would be the winner. 

The game found its way into Britain, mostly through the Maltese, who passed it on to the British navy during the 1800s. The British military was really engrossed in the game and gave it the name "Housey - Housey."

Transformation in the USA

The United States had a major influence on the game and was responsible for giving the name "Bingo." The first game of "Beano" as it was known back then, was first played in America in 1929 at a fare in Atlanta, Georgia. 

During the Great Depression, a toy salesman named Edwin Lowe saw the game being played at a fair and got interested. He worked extensively for commercializing the game and came up with the modern version of the game as we know it today. 

Interestingly, he was also the first person to give the name "Bingo." Before that, the game was called "Beano" as people used beans to cover the numbers and shout out the same on completion of a row. Lowe heard someone shout "Bingo" instead of "Beano" in excitement, and decided to call his version "Bingo" from then onwards. 

Today, more than $90 million is spent each week on Bingo in America by over 60 million players, including both men and women. 

The Rise of Online Bingos

It wasn't surprising that Bingo would also become one of the most popular games on the internet. The first version went live in 1996 when the free game “Bingo Zone” was uploaded online. Since then, hundreds and thousands of online casinos and websites have come up and hosted their own version of the game. 

So, get ready to try your luck in Bingo, one of the oldest and most popular games of chance!