A Bingo: The Origins of the Game

Bingo started way back in the 1500s in Italy, as a game called Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia. Some parts of Italy still play the game even until today.

The game became popular among rich Frenchmen as Le Lotto. The game became as popular in Germany as well, where it was mainly used to teach children math, letters, and vocabulary.

When it came to the US it was called beano, which was because players marked their numbers with beans. The numbers were drawn out randomly from a box or a hat. Whenever somebody won, he would yell 'beano!, instead of bingo which is what players call out today.

The game was first played in carnival in Georgia. People became so engrossed in the game that it became popular in no time. The word 'bingo' cam to play (no pun intended) when someone, in the throes of excitement, mistakenly yelled out 'bingo' instead of 'beano'--that's how the word came about, and how it came to stay.

The New York salesman Edwin S. Lowe was the one who actually attached the name to the game after he heard one player shout it out. Equally excited about the game himself, he requested Carl Leffler, a university math professor, to create as many number combinations for the game as possible. Leffler did what Lowe asked of him, but he got so involved with his task that he apparently went mad after creating 6000 different card combinations in 1930.

Bingo is a very popular fund-raising activity, and it is not a surprising thing to see people flocking to churches or community bingo halls on week nights for a night of bingo and socialization. Most proceeds usually go to funding community or church projects.

The person who first saw the game's potential as a great fund raising gimmick was a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania. He approached Lowe and brought his idea to him. After that churches began to have bingo games played in their halls, and the community halls followed suit. The game's popularity soared.

10,000 games were being played regularly every week by 1934. North Americans are one of the people who spend roughly 90 million dollars on the game every week.

Bingo is an old game with a rich history. But despite the years that it has been around it has never lost its popularity and appeal, which is why people of all ages still enjoy playing it over and over again.

Close