Bingo History

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Bingo History

For the last few hundred years, the game of bingo has worked its way into the culture of multiple European countries and eventually found its way into the United States. Despite the time and distance, the game has traveled, players are still enjoying the game almost the same way it’s been played since day one.


History credits the creation of bingo to Italy in the 1500s. During the 14th century, Italians had quickly developed a passion for betting on games of chance. They invented a lottery game which they referred to as ‘Lo Giuoco Del Lotto D’Italia.’ Lo Giuoco Del Lotto D’Italia was considered the first version of modern-day bingo.


The French were the next culture to embrace bingo. The upper class favored the game, which they referred to as ‘Le Lotto,’ in the 1770s. The structure they followed wasn’t very different from the one players know and love today. Using bingo sheets featuring a 9×3 grid, players would follow the lead of a bingo caller, who would randomly select a wooden chip numbered 1-90. If a player had the chosen number on their board, they would mark it. The first player to cover an entire line of 9 was the winner.


As bingo grew in popularity in the 1800s it found its way to Germany. Rather than serving as a source of entertainment, the game was used as an educational tool. By playing the game, children were able to learn spelling, math, and history.

United States

In the roaring 1920s, bingo gained a following in the United States. While the evolution of the game, and its name, are highly speculated, we do know that it was originally played under the name ‘beano.’ This name stemmed from the player’s use of beans as card markers. Legend has it that during a game one very enthusiastic player declared her victory by yelling ‘bingo,’ rather than ‘beano.’ The name stuck, and it’s still what we call the game almost a hundred years later. A toy salesman named Edward Lowe further revolutionized the game by working to develop a system to increase number combinations on bingo cards. His charitable work with one Pennsylvanian church (who used the game for fundraising), helped contribute to the rise in the game’s popularity. More recently, an organization in the United States launched the country’s first entirely charitable online bingo website (

How to Play Bingo

Fortunately for bingo fanatics, the game can be enjoyed either in-person or from the comfort of your own home in an online format. Both offer slightly different experiences but deliver the same excitement none-the-less. (Wondering what the future of bingo will look like? The development of mobile bingo apps is on the rise!)

Land-Based Bingo:

The first necessary measure for a bingo game is to purchase admission. Depending on the venue, the player may have the option to do this beforehand, or on-site. After players have found their seats, and it’s almost time to begin, the Bingo Caller will first announce that occasion’s prizes. When the Caller has completed the introduction, they’ll say ‘eyes down,’ indicating that it’s time for the game to begin. The Caller will pick and announce numbers using their selected method (traditional balls from a bingo tumbler, or from the use of a Random Number Generator (RNG)). When one of the numbers announced appears on a player’s card, the player will mark that square off.

The game continues until a player yells ‘bingo!’, which signals that they’ve marked off all the numbers that form a winning pattern on their card. Their card is checked by a staff member, and the game will either end, or continue, depending on the rules of the venue, and the number of prizes up for grabs.

Online Bingo:

For those who seek the thrill of betting but are reluctant to leave the comfort of their home, online bingo is the next best option. With the demand for at-home entertainment increasing, online bingo has become one of the most rapidly growing variations of online gambling. In 2004 the UK had 20 online bingo sites, and today you can find over 500 of them across the web.

The process of online bingo is similar to that of land-based: You enter in a (virtual) game, choose the number of cards you’d like, listen to the numbers being called, and declare when you’ve got a winning card. However online, the talking must be done via chat, the cards are marked on your computer screen, and a win is announced with the click of a mouse. Just like land-based bingo, card styles and winning patterns can differ from game to game. Online bingo is already prominent in the United States and Europe and is expected to grow in Spain, Asia, and Latin America.


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