The Origins of the Game
As is the case with many things in our history, bingo became a hugely popular and commercial success when it was “discovered” by an American toy salesman, Edwin Lowe, in 1929, while visiting a local carnival just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The game was being played by a group of people, and was actually called “Beano” at the time.
Here are just a few interesting things that occurred after Lowe changed the name from “Beano” to “Bingo”:
- The name “Bingo” was actually a mistake. Instead of screaming “Beano”, a woman playing the game at Lowe’s apartment screamed “bingo” after completing the first row.
- Carl Leffler, a mathematician from Columbia University commissioned by Edwin Lowe, developed Lowe’s bingo system and by late 1930 came up with 6,000 different card combinations with non-repeating number groups. After completing the job, he went completely insane.
- By 1934 it is estimated that 10,000 bingo games were played every week.
- According to Lowe, the largest bingo game in history was played in New York’s Teaneck Armory with 60,000 players ? with 10,000 being turned away at the door.
The Origins of the Game
Now, with regards to the actual origins of the game:
- Bingo is similar to a Christmas game played in Italy, called “Tombola”. The premise of the game was the same ? people would shout as soon as a line was completed on a card marked by a series of numbers arranged into rows and columns.
- Many believe bingo stemmed from an Italian lottery game in the 1530s, called “Lo Giuoco Del Lotto D’Italia”.
- Bingo appeared in France during the 1700s as a game called “Le lotto”.
- During the 1800s, the German Education System adopted the game as a means of helping to teach children multiplication tables.
Bingo Spread Quickly Throughout Europe
The first bingo games can be traced back to Italy during 1530. It originated as a lottery game called, “Lo Giuoco Del Lotto D’Italia”. It then migrated over to France sometime during the 1700s, where it was regularly played by wealthy Frenchmen.
Reading the numbers out loud is just one of the numerous modifications applied to the game by the French, and one of the many changes suffered throughout the centuries of its existence.
Throughout the 1800s bingo spread quickly throughout Europe. When it had initially arrived in Germany, it was not used as a game, but as a method by which students could better learn mathematics, spelling, and history.
It’s easy to see why bingo would eventually find itself onto the Internet in an easy-to-play online version.