The Origins of Bingo

Bingo may be traced back to a lottery game known as “Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” played in Italy around 1530. In France, by the seventeenth century, the game had evolved to include playing cards, tokens, and reading the numbers aloud. In the nineteenth century, the game was widely employed in Germany for educational reasons, such as teaching youngsters spelling and multiplication tables.

In 1929, the game debuted in America at a travelling carnival in Atlanta. As it was once known, Beano was a game that was played using dry beans, a rubber stamp, and cardboard sheets. Edwin S. Lowe, a New York toy salesman, watched the game and remarked on how involved the participants were.

Lowe carried the concept to New York, where he taught his pals how to play. He used dry beans, a rubber numbered stamp, and card board to play the game, which was identical to what he had seen. The game enthralled his pals. One of his players is reported to have created bingo history when they screamed “Bingo” instead of “Beano” after winning. The original Lowe Bingo Game was available in two versions: a 12-card set and a 24-card set. The bingo game was a huge hit.

After Bingo became popular, a Catholic priest from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania approached Lowe about using it to raise church donations. Bingo grew extremely popular as it began to be played in churches. By 1934, an estimated 10,000 bingo games were played weekly, and now, bingo is worth more than $90 million in North America alone.

Playing Instructions

Players purchase cards with numbers that correspond to the five letters in the word B-I-N-G-O in a 5 × 5 grid. Numbers beginning with a letter (such as B-9) are drawn at random (from a pool of 75 in American Bingo and 90 in British and Australian Bingo) until one player completes a ‘Bingo‘ pattern on one of their cards, such as a line of five numbers in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row, and wins the prize. There are several designs to choose from. Below are some bingo pattern examples.

Put a chip on your scorecard if you have that letter and number.

Check your scorecard after the caller reads out the letter-number combination to see whether you have the letter and number they called out. Put a chip on that square if you do. [8]
If the caller says “G-46,” for example, you’d search in the “G” column of your scorecard for the number “46.” You’d use a chip to cover that square if you had it.
You don’t have to do anything if you don’t have the letter and phone number the caller selected.