The history of bingo can be traced back to humble beginnings in the great Italian city states of the 1500s. ‘Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia’ was the first ‘National Lottery’ which was played every week. From Italy, the game spread to provincial France and was known as ‘Le Lotto’ where it proved very popular amongst the rich French merchant classes. It evolved even further when the Germans put an educational spin on the game and used it to teach children basic maths.
Bingo In The USA
Initially, Bingo was mainly played in European fairgrounds. The booth owner would pull numbered tokens randomly from a box and players would mark their cards with beans. Hence the game became known as Beano. The first player to cover a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line on their card with beans would shout ‘Beano!,’ and claim a prize. Sometime in the 1930s, a salesman named Edwin Lowe from America came across the game in Germany. He decided to bring the idea back to the U.S. with him. On arrival back in the U.S. Lowe showed the game to his friends, one of them got quite excited when she won and called out ‘Bingo!’ instead of ‘Beano!,’ and the name stuck!
Lowe released a version of the game with a 12 and 24 card set, costing just a dollar or two dollars for the 24 card set. The game was a smash hit and spread quickly around the States. At first, it mostly used to raise money for charitable causes by priests in Pennsylvania. However, there was a problem in that the cards were delivering too many winners rather than the desired one or two.
The priest needed a way to produce more cards but with fewer winners. As a result, he employed the services of a university mathematician at Colombia University named Carl Leffler. He invented 6000 different bingo card numerical variations. Bearing in mind there were no computers to help complete this task, the poor mathematician was driven insane. But the result was that there was now just one winner per bingo game.
Bingo In The Modern Era
Bingo didn’t become widely acknowledged until 1960, when the Gaming Act permitted such games to be played in members-only establishments. In 1968 a Gaming Board was set up to regulate Bingo clubs and another act was passed which allowed clubs to play bingo with cash prizes via tabletop coin slots. Bingo proved so popular that Bingo Halls were set up in all major towns in the UK. Many still exist or have been revived in recent years.
Throughout the history of bingo, many people tried to imitate Lowe’s game, but as he did not own it, he asked that his competitors pay him $1 a year in return for using the name Bingo. This has resulted in ‘Bingo’ becoming the generic name of all the variations of the game that exist today, including online bingo.
Online bingo has become extremely popular and by 2007 was generating wins of over £70 million a year. Fast forward to March 2019 and the bingo halls were generating a gross gambling yield of £677m in the UK. Combined with online bingo revenue, the industry is worth over £1 billion in the UK annually. We literally spend billions on the game every year.
It’s no surprise that Bingo broadly appeals to women, with 85% of all online players being women. In order to keep players coming back for more, the game now has a lot of variations, particularly online. There are branded games, prizes for 1TG, 2TG and linked games with huge jackpots. Even the layout of the card can be different depending on where you play.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the welcome packages on offer from the online bingo sites. They want your business and they are willing to pay for it. So if you’ve never played online bingo before, make sure that you check out as many of the trusted sites as you can to find the one that gives you the best gameplay.
Here we particularly like Jackpotjoy, Paddy Power Bingo and Tombola. They each have a great range of games with prices to suit every budget. Gameplay is fun with some great promotions and prizes on offer.