Who invented Bingo?

Who Invented Bingo?

Bingo! What a game, right? Who would have thought that a simple game of numbers and chance would become a staple at family gatherings, church halls, and even online platforms, bringing people of all ages together? Let’s explore into the colourful history of this beloved game.

Bingo’s history is as fascinating as the game itself. It dates 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 traveled to France in the late 1700s, where it was known as “Le Lotto,” a game favoured by the French aristocracy. But the version of the game we know and love today? That transformation happened in the early 20th century in the United States.

Why Is It Called Bingo?

The name ‘Bingo’ has a bit of an amusing origin. The game, as it evolved in the U.S., was initially called “Beano.” Why? Because players used beans to mark their cards as numbers were called out. The story goes that it became “Bingo” thanks to toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe. During a game, in his excitement, a player accidentally yelled “Bingo!” instead of “Beano.” Lowe loved the sound of it, and the name stuck. Lowe wasn’t the inventor, but he was instrumental in popularizing and standardizing the game.

How Was the Earliest Bingo Played?

The earliest version of bingo, back in Italy, was more of a weekly lottery. But as it evolved, particularly in France, it took on a more familiar form. Players had cards with rows and columns, and a caller would draw numbered wooden tokens from a bag, calling out the numbers. The first person to cover a horizontal row was the winner. Simple, yet thrilling!

Today there are many online bingo sites online making Bingo one of the most played games online. Online bingo has seen significant growth, especially in regions like the UK and parts of Europe, over the past decade. Its popularity is fueled by the convenience of online play and the social aspects that online platforms can offer. The global online bingo market was estimated to be worth around $2 billion in 2020 and is expected to continue growing. Bingo’s appeal to a broader age range, including younger players, through its online platforms, has helped maintain its popularity.

Some Interesting Facts About Bingo

  • A Tool for Education: Did you know that bingo has been used as an educational tool? In the 1800s in Germany, it was used to teach children mathematics, spelling, and history. Imagine learning multiplication with a bingo card!
  • You can play bingo with regular playing cards. Card bingo is a simple game to be played with 52-card deck of standard playing cards. Whether you’re at camp with the kids or hanging out with friends at the pub, this can be a fun and spontaneous game with little need for anything more than that deck of cards you carry around in your pocket.
  • The Bingo Renaissance: Bingo had a resurgence in the 1960s in the UK, where it moved from being a game played mainly by women in church halls to becoming a commercial powerhouse with dedicated bingo halls.
  • The Online Revolution: Fast forward to the 21st century, and bingo has conquered the digital world. Online bingo has exploded in popularity, making the game accessible to a broader and younger audience. And there are many online variations.
  • Bingo Lingo: In the UK, bingo callers traditionally used witty phrases for numbers (like “two little ducks” for 22 and “legs eleven” for 11), adding a layer of humour and culture to the game.
  • Drag Bingo is a thing: In the world of LGBTQ2S+ drag performers often host bingo games at pubs and restaurants and during charity events, adding a fun and colourful dimension to the game.

Famous Bingo Players?

While bingo might not have the high-profile celebrity endorsements of other games like poker, it does have its share of famous aficionados. For instance, British royalty were known to indulge in the game. Prince William, known for his down-to-earth demeanor, has been reported to enjoy a game or two. In the realm of pop culture, celebrities like Catherine Zeta-Jones grew up playing bingo (her father reportedly won enough money in a bingo game to afford her dance and ballet lessons) and continue to enjoy it as a pastime.

In conclusion, bingo is more than just a game; it’s a cultural phenomenon that has stood the test of time. From its humble beginnings in Italy to its transformation in America and its embrace in the digital age, bingo has a rich history that is intertwined with social and cultural trends. It’s a game that’s simple to play but rich in heritage – a game that brings people together, whether in a grand hall with hundreds of players or in an intimate family gathering. So, the next time you mark off those numbers and wait with bated breath for your chance to shout “Bingo!”, remember you’re participating in a tradition that spans centuries and cultures. Bingo is not just a game; it’s a legacy!