The History Of Bingo

The History Of Bingo

Today, bingo is an extremely popular game in the United States* and the United Kingdom. However, neither of these countries can lay claim to founding the game. In fact, it would take 400 years before it would even reach North America. By most accounts, the game was first played in Italy where it was known as the Italian Lottery (lotto). It was played every Saturday by the locals. It became very well-known in this part of the world and was very well received and popular.

The next country to discover the game was France. Here, it was played mostly by the country’s most wealthy citizens. The board was a bit different than the one that most people are familiar with today. It had nine columns and three rows and there were a number of blank spaces sprinkled throughout the board. The numbers on the board ranged from 1 to 90. There was a caller much like there is today. That person would pull the numbers out of a bag and then called them out. Often times the numbers were printed on chips made of different materials, most often clay or wood.

The game would then make its way to Germany. The Germans used it to help students master and/or improve their knowledge of various school subjects, most often history and math. It was not until the 1920s that Bingo would be introduced to North America. It entered the country through the south, specifically Atlanta, Georgia.

During this time, bingo was most often played at carnivals. Individuals would enter a tent and compete against each other. These tents would often be backed as individuals would clamor into them to either play or watch. There was a young man at the carnival one day in Atlanta by the name of Edwin S. Lowe who sold toys for a living. He stumbled across the bingo tent and entered in. Impressed by the huge crowd and the excitement the game generated, he quickly saw the marketability of the game. Subsequently, he started learning as much as he could about it. To verify his initial hunch of bingo (it wasn’t yet called bingo) having the potential to be a big hit around the country, he invited some friend’s over to see if the game would be well received amongst common persons. It was. They loved it. He changed the name of the game to bingo and had some cards printed up. The game quickly became a hit and is still very popular even today.

Though bingo did not originate in the United States or the United Kingdom, the game has become very popular and well received in these parts of the world. In some ways, both countries have adopted the beloved game as their own. The game has indeed changed since its origins in Italy. However, it is still very enjoyable, fun and quite exciting.

*Note; Online Gambling is illegal in the US.