Bingo History

Bingo history has its roots stemming back to the 16th century in Italy. Local villagers played a more primitive version of today’s game, which was called ‘Lo Giuco de Lotto.

The game then underwent a transformation after reaching France during the 1700’s. A number caller was added to the game, as well as playing cards and tokens. The game then evolved even further and became ‘Le Lotto’ in France in 1778.

The new version comprised of a grid which contained three rows and nine columns, with a total of 27 squares and 90 individual numbers. The modern game that we see today stemmed from this particular design which had some squares containing numbers and some squares which contained blank spaces.

The word ‘Bingo’ was officially given by Hugh J Ward, who spread the game through Carnivals around the US, starting in Western Pennsylvania and in Pittsburgh in particular. After he gained the copyrights, he then went on to write and publish the rule book in 1933. Ward’s version was played using a rubber stamp, dried beans and cardboard sheets.

Edwin Lowe is further accredited with bringing the game into the spotlight and boosting the games popularity after he realised how captivated people were when they were playing at a travelling carnival close to Atlanta. The toy merchandiser took the game to New York where he then introduced it to his friends who were also thoroughly entertained by the game.

There is also one idea as to where the name bingo came from which contradicts popular belief. One of Edwin Lowes friends was apparently so excited when his numbers were drawn that he shouted the word ‘Bingo’, instead of ‘Beano’ and that the name stuck from thereon.

This directly contradicts claims that the word was in fact used in Great Britain as far back as the late 1700’s. It was from here that the name ‘Bingo’ eventually found its way to Pittsburgh, which therefore pre-dates Lowes claim by more than 150 years. Bingo history tells us different tales of how the name was actually formed.

By the 1940’s, bingo was extremely popular up and down the country and its popularity showed no sign of slowing down. In the decades that followed, several variations of the game began springing to life, with each version being each as popular as the next. There was also a boom in the number of bingo halls that were available. These popular venues started attracting thousands of regular players who could play for big cash prizes.

Bet shops also started offering bingo that run throughout the day, which was played over a huge network and in the early 2000’s, several websites began developing online bingo software meaning that players could play their favourite game from home, 24/7. Providing players had a stable internet connection, a working computer and sufficient bankroll, they could now purchase bingo tickets online without ever having to step outside.