Bingo, sometimes known as Lotto, is a game of chance played with cards that have a grid of numbers on them, each of which represents a win when a row of them is drawn at random. Bingo is one of the most popular low-cost gambling games on the planet.
Each participant purchases one or more cards divided into numbered and blank spaces to play bingo, a type of lottery. A “banker” calls out a series of numbers at random, generally up to 75 or 90. The first player to get a card (or a line) with all of the numbers named screams “bingo” or “house” and collects the full stake money, generally less a certain percentage if local legislation allows it. Another common variation is leaving the center square on the card blank. The winner is the first player whose card has five named numbers in a row—vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. The jackpot reward might be worth tens of thousands of dollars. In most states where other types of gambling are prohibited, bingo is lawful. It is legal in Ireland if the proceeds are donated to charity, and it is strictly controlled in the United Kingdom, where lotto halls were taxed in 1966.
Bingo has gone by many different names and has been played in many different ways. Lotto (or loto), a children’s game, was the first name documented in 1778. The original American version, known as keno, kino, or PO-keno, goes back to the early 1800s. The only form of gambling approved in the British armed forces, known as tombola (1880) in the Royal Navy and house (1900) in the Army. Beano, fortunate, radio, and fortune are other names used in the United States. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, a variation (commonly referred to as screen) was popular in movie theatres, with one night each week designated as bank night, when spectators got free bingo cards with their admission tickets and rewards totaling hundreds of dollars in cash or items.
Mumblety-peg, often written mumbled-peg or mumbly-peg, is a skill game played with a knife, generally a jackknife. Its original name was mumbled the peg. The game was first played in the British Isles in the 17th century. The game’s goal is for each participant to flip or toss the knife in a series of motions until it sticks in the ground and stands upright after each one. The most popular postures are (1) flipping from the palm, (2) flipping from the back of the hand, (3) flipping with a twist of the fist, (4) throwing with the blade tip between the thumb and forefinger, and (5) throwing with the blade tip between the thumb and forefinger. (5) tossing backward over the head, (6) throwing from each shoulder or behind each ear, (7) tossing between the teeth, and (8) throwing around the head from the rear.
Unless one player wins by performing all positions, each player performs in turn until he misses, then resumes when the other players miss. The game’s name derives from a forfeit needed in the early days of the game: a tiny peg was driven into the ground by a specified number of knife strokes, and the loser had to pick the peg out with his teeth (“mumble the peg”).