Bingo History:

32 Red Bingo

We have all undoubtedly heard of the beloved family game that is known as Bingo. A game of pure luck and chance, Bingo has been played for generation after generation. But where did it start and why?

The game of Bingo in its closest roots can date back for centuries; in fact, almost 500 years. However, it did not technically start as the Bingo game that we now know today. Bingo can be traced all the way back to an Italian lottery game call "Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia". This lottery game is actually still played in Italy today. Over time, the game evolved, and developed the common components that we see in it today; playing cards, tokens, and read-aloud numbers. In fact, in Germany, these playing cards even implemented educational purposes to students learning animal names, multiplication, and spelling techniques. By the nineteenth century, the game looked fairly identical to its present state.

The game was introduced in the United States at a traveling carnival in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929. Here, though, it was called Beano rather than Bingo. This was because the game's tokens consisted of dried beans. A spectator at the carnival, a man named Edward Lowe, noticed how enticed and engaged the players were on the game. From here, Mr. Lowe took the game's idea to New York, where he introduced it to his friends and colleagues. Here, he held game sessions that were similar to the ones he saw in Atlanta, and, what do you know, the game became an instant success. His friends absolutely loved the game, and its popularity spread like wildfire. Rumor has it that the term Bingo cam from one of Lowe's friends, who accidently screamed "Bingo" instead of "Beano" upon that sought after 5-in-a-row line on the game sheet.

Lowe eventually hired a Columbia University professor to increase the games odds and diversity for different Bingo combinations. This man, Carl Leffler, invented over 6,000 different playable Bingo cards by 1930. Soon after the invention of these cards, Lowe was confronted by a Catholic priest who was looking to raise money for his church. After Bingo was implemented by the church, the game's popularity ran rampid across the country. By the mid 1930's over 10,000 games were played weekly. Bingo became a national treasure and a symbol of American family games. The love for this game of chance is a trait conserved by people worldwide.