Wed. May 29th, 2024

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing all five of your numbers line up and being the first to shout ‘Bingo’. From the days of the earliest bingo halls to the fast-paced, modern games played online at sites like, bingo has been the perfect blend of quick gameplay and fun social event that has brought it widespread appeal. But for such a popular and well-known game, its origins are a little hazy – where did bingo first develop? Where did it come from? Let’s have a look at the untold history of this fantastic game!

Like most gambling games, its origins lie in Europe around the 15th century – but most specifically, with the Italian lottery. The first appearance of a game that bore similarities to bingo was ‘Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia’ which is a game still being played to this day. The lotto spread from Italy to France and then Germany. The German game was perhaps most similar to modern bingo of these but served an entirely different purpose, it was used as a tool to help educate the masses on multiplication tables. It wasn’t until the 20th century, when the game moved to America, that it began to take form as the game we know and love today.

It wasn’t quite the same though, one of the main differences was that the game wasn’t called bingo, but beano, for reasons that will become apparent. Rather than a bingo cage, the numbers were chosen by drawing random tiles with numbers on them from a cigar box and if your number was on your card then you marked its place with a single bean. Once you had all five numbers in a row marked by your beans, you called out ‘Beano!’ and collected your prize. This was a game conventionally played at county fairs across the country and it was here that it was discovered by Edwin S. Lowe, a New York toy salesman, who was intrigued enough in the game to try and find a way to mass produce it. When Lowe first came across the game, the winner in their excitement accidentally shouted out bingo not beano and this lead to the name we know today.

But Lowe ran into a problem – with larger crowds and more games, Lowe needed more unique card and number combinations to avoid conflict on a win and to widen the range of numbers available. He hired a mathematician to produce 600 cards with random, non-repeated numbers (a difficult task that took many years) but the end result were the cards that made bingo so famous! Bingo’s big break came when a catholic priest from Pennsylvania asked Lowe for permission to use it in churches as a means to raise funds. The entrants paid for a card and could potentially win a small prize. This methodology made bingo popular enough to support bingo halls and the rest is history! But what do you think? Is bingo one of the best games out there or are you more a fan of the lottery? Let us know in the comments below!


By Sean

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