The History of Bingo


Bingo is a popular game of chance that is played for prizes and cash. A player wins when the caller randomly draws a number that matches those on the player’s card. The player must yell out “BINGO!” on completing the pattern of numbers to be considered a winner.

Before the caller awards the winner, they must check the player’s numbers. The patterns of the game vary throughout gameplay to keep the players engaged and interested. Since it is a game of chance, bingo is a form of gambling. It is, therefore, justifiable to say that bingo is the most widely accepted form of gambling in the world.

Despite its popularity, especially among the younger generation, bingo has deep roots. If you have never played the game before, perhaps it is time to start. You can see just how far bingo has come by viewing the best new bingo sites that offer online play.

Early Origins of Bingo

Bingo became popular in the 20th century, but its roots go back to as early as the early 1500s. The earliest records of a game most similar to the present-day bingo was an Italian lottery known as ‘Lo Gioco del d’Italia’.

Lo Gioco del d’Italia is a state-run lottery that is still played every Saturday to this day.

Le Lotto and Beano

The Italian-style game evolved to become a lot like it is today when it spread to France in the 1700s. This version of the game known as ‘Le Lotto’ featured three rows and nine columns, each row having three spaces. Le Lotto was very popular amongst wealthy Frenchmen.

By the 1800s, Le Lotto had spread across Europe. The Germans played a version of the game to help learners develop their spelling, history, and math skills. By the time it landed in North America, its name had evolved to ‘Beano’. Beano was a dealer-based game played at the country fair with numbered disks in a cigar box. Players marked their cards with beans and yelled “Beano” when they won.

The Bingo Card

As you may have guessed, the change of the name ‘beano’ to ‘bingo’ was by accident. A player won and shouted ‘bingo’ instead of the legal ‘beano’. Edwin S. Lowe, a New York Statesman, is credited for officially christening the game with the new name.

His passion for the game went beyond changing its name. He is also responsible for transforming it into a card game. He started a company that produced bingo cards and streamlined the rules of the game. He also marketed the game under the name ‘Yahtzee’.

Bingo in the Church

Believe it or not, the Catholic church has played a role in the acceptance and the popularity of bingo.

In 1934, a Pennsylvanian Catholic priest approached Lowe and asked if his church could use his game to raise funds. He agreed. His decision shot the popularity of the game through the roof. Churchgoers brought the game home, and before long, it was one of the most popular past-times in the US.

By the 1940s, an estimated 10,000 games were played across the country every week. When gambling was outlawed across the US, churches and non-profit organizations were allowed to host bingo games to raise funds.

Bingo in the Casino

The game of bingo experienced a massive boom in popularity post World War 2 in Europe and North America. The game was re-exported to Europe with its present name where it remains popular.

Bingo found its way into the casino via Lowe’s company. It was first played as a gambling game in Nevada casinos operated by Native American tribes. Before long, it found its way to Las Vegas. Today, casinos all over the world have it in their library of games.

Bingo’s Online Evolution

Bingo was, and remains, a massive boom to casinos. Today, gamblers spend more than $90 million on bingo games every week in North America alone.  In the UK, the bingo business is worth roughly £1.3 billion. It was only natural that the game found a place on the internet when casinos moved online in the late 20th century. was the first-ever online bingo website. There are hundreds of web-based and downloadable bingo apps everywhere today. However, the best place to find variety and communities of bingo players is at online casinos.


The Germans may have been the first people to fully take advantage of the benefits the game of bingo has to offer. Playing it offers recreational therapy, sharpens socialization skills, and boosts mental flexibility. These benefits are the reason it is very popular among seniors and in retirement homes.

There really is a lot of bingo history, whilst it has come a long way, bingo is winning over new fanatics in the new generation and will live for centuries. 

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