26 October 2021 780 Views


by James Murphy


Bingo is one of the most popular gambling games played today and estimated to have been around for 490 years. The game having found its popularity with war troops during world war I and world war II is now estimated at £1.3 billion in the UK – play today.

Much of its global success is owed to the innovation and uniqueness brought by the internet. The Bingo game, having almost gone into extinction at the turn of the 21st century, found popularity again when many websites were dedicated to the evolution of the game in 2003, although bingo halls have also gotten a sparkling facelift and fresh side attractions.

Today, bingo has evolved since its creation in Italy as a traditional lottery game. Nevertheless, tracing its evolution will reveal better why the love for the game is rarely equaled by other games.


Earliest developments

The first record of the game can be traced back to 1530 Italy, as an Italian lottery called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia,” which is still played regularly on Saturday in Italy

From there, bingo found acceptance in France in the late 1700s under the name “Le Lotto”. In France, it was traditionally played by the aristocrats and affluent Frenchmen. Similar to today’s version, “Le Lotto” is played with a caller who picks a wooden number token and reads out loud the number. It was in France that bingo first became known as a game of chance as played today.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the game was played as a pastime and also used as an educational tool to teach children times tables, animal names, spelling, and history, in Germany as well as Central Europe.

  • Britain

Britain has so much love for bingo. This stretch back much further before it was officially legalised as a Gambling Act in 1960. The history of the game of bingo on the British Isles dates way back to the 18th century when it migrated from France.

The modern version of the game gained its first surge of popularity having been found in the British industrial towns and cities before being commercialized in the United States of America.

  • America

The game found its modern name in the US. The origin of the name Bingo is unknown but traced to the mid-1920s when Hugh J. Ward took the game’s name from its pre-existing slang and first marketed it.

However, the modern commercialization of the game and patent of the bingo card is credited to Edwin Lowe.

Lowe who first played it at a carnival loved the game so much he started playing with his friends, and there are claims that during one of those times, one of Lowe’s friends was excited to have won that she yelled”Bingo” instead of “Beano,” which the game was hitherto called in north America.

Afterwards, lowe with the help of a mathematician printed cards increased the number of possible combinations and packaged it before selling under the name of ‘Bingo.


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