Bingo: A Look Back in Time

Whether or whether you enjoy them, gambling games have a long and fascinating history that deserves respect as an integral element of human culture. Even though bingo hasn’t been around as long as some other casino classics, the game’s history is nonetheless fascinating.

After all, it’s not often that a game designed for adults ends up becoming a hit at kid-friendly events like birthday parties, family reunions, and charity auctions hosted by local churches. Bingo’s distinctive vibe blends real excitement with a community mood where everyone shares in the delights of winning, and anybody can take part thanks to the game’s simplicity and accessibility (almost to a fault).


So let’s take a stroll through the history of bingo, a fascinating symbol of gambling culture that dates back over 500 years.

Bingo’s Early Days


Bingo’s ancestor dates all the way back to the 1600s in Italy, when it was known as “Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia,” or “The Italian Lottery.” Players in this early version of the game only competed against the house, not each other, as they tried to line up numbered tokens with corresponding squares on a card that featured 9 columns and 3 rows (a layout still used in modern 90-ball bingo).


After making its debut in France in the 1700s (roughly speaking, the decades before to the French Revolution), this lottery game would ultimately expand across Europe.


Some of the mechanisms used in modern bingo games may be traced back to a French version of the game called “Le Lotto” (we’ll let you figure out what that means in English). Instead of solo play, Le Lotto was now a competitive game in which players raced to be the first to fill out one row of numbers on the game’s 9×3 grid.


Around the same time, similar forms of play emerged in other countries, such as a lottery game in the United Kingdom, a Mexican game called “La Loteria” that was largely based on its French counterpart, and a version of the game adapted as a teaching tool in some German schools, where it was used to teach numbers and letters.


Bingo, That’s What It Was Called.

All the bingo games we’ve seen so far don’t even refer to itself as “bingo.” So, tell me, why do we call it that?


In order to get the solution, we must travel across the ocean and follow the American bingo trail. There is some debate as to how the immensely popular bingo games first arrived in the United States, but most historians believe that they were likely carried back by American troops returning from the front lines of World War 1. It was in these same trenches that a variant of bingo known as “housey-housey” was developed and became a popular pastime for Allied soldiers.


After World War I, these servicemen took bingo back to their own nations, where it finally became popular.


Beano, created by Hugh J. Ward in the 1920s, was the first American variant of bingo to gain widespread popularity. Beano is sometimes credited as the ancestor of modern American bingo, which uses a 5×5 card layout with a free center area. Beano derives its name from the practice of players marking down corresponding numbers with beans after having them called from a cigar box containing wooden discs.


The game Beano caught the attention of toy manufacturer and salesperson Edwin S. Lowe when he saw it being played at a carnival in Georgia. After witnessing the players’ infectious enthusiasm, Lowe set out to convert the game into a format he could market.


He bought the essentials and hosted a few test games with friends and coworkers. During one of these trials, one of his players misheard the call and exclaimed “Bingo” instead of “Beano” when she got a winning line, giving birth to the modern game of Bingo.


The Internet Bingo Boom

However, bingo would inevitably arrive at the most pivotal juncture in gaming history: the rise of online video games. Even while video games had progressed considerably by the 1990s, it wasn’t until they were combined with the Internet and the World Wide Web that they truly reached their full potential.


This was a huge event for online bingo in Canada in particular since land-based bingo games couldn’t exist without an internet component. Playing a gambling game that required you to compete against other players if the game itself couldn’t link you up with other players seemed pointless.


Because of the internet, casinos could go digital, with customers playing brand-new games from the convenience of their own homes, no matter where they happened to be in the globe.

While the precise beginnings of online bingo are still up for debate, it is generally accepted that Cyberbingo provided the first such service. What happened after that is, well, history.

Conclusion: Bingo in the Future


Similar to the first lottery games, bingo quickly became wildly popular wherever it was introduced. Bingo felt less like gambling and more like a simple party game that may or may not have a pot of money waiting at the end of the line due to the game’s format, which encourages large groups of people to play at the same time.


In reality, for most individuals playing bingo for the first time, there may not even be any money stakes at all; bingo became fairly popular among non-gamblers in the United States as a fun activity at large parties, with even youngsters engaging in the fun to try to win toys, sweets, or some other reward.


As it stands now, bingo is as well-liked as ever and serves as a cornerstone of gambling in both the physical and virtual worlds. Due to the magic of the Internet, the popularity of bingo continued to rise despite the widespread decline in brick-and-mortar establishments brought on by the coronavirus epidemic.

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