The history of bingo is a long and interesting story, spanning nearly five hundred years. Here is a brief look of how this game of luck conquered the world.
Early Years of Bingo
Almost five hundred years ago, in the early 16th century, Northern Italy was perhaps the wealthiest and most civilized place on earth. This affluence was created by vast merchant fleets, that used Northern Italy as a hub where their goods were sold to merchants from all over Continental Europe. Many money relatedventions were in this atmosphere of entrepreneurship, like modern banking ... and the game of Bingo!
At the time Bingo was simply called "lotto", the Italian term for "lottery". Despite being much simpler than the game we know today, it still proved to be very popular. Traveling merchants spread the game to their home countries, and so Bingo started to spread around Europe.
By the 18th century bingo had become hugely popular in France, where the idle and wealthy aristocracy and intelligentsia loved gambling games of all kinds. The game played in France at the time was already quite similar to modern day Bingo. Cards used at the time had three horizontal and nine vertical rows, and the game was played by covering numbers called aloud by the caller.
Next country to catch Bingo fever was Germany, or the 39 small states that later formed Germany to be exact. There the game was reshaped into an educational tool for children. Animals and historical events took the place of numbers. These games were the prerequors of educational Bingos found at toy stores today.
Modern Bingo Is Born
United States proved to be the birth place of Bingo as we know it today. Like many other things, Bingo was brought to US by immigrants. The game was most often played at the carnivals, where it was called "beano". The name beano came from beans, which were used to cover the numbers on the cards.
Around 1930 Edwin Lowe happened by accident to witness beano being played at a carnival. Lowe, a toy salesman, immediately noticed how intensely the players enjoyed the game, so he decided to create his own copy. He played his copy of the game with some of his friends and it proved to be an instant hit. Legend says that during the Lowe's very first test game one of the players accidentally yelled "bingo!" instead of "beano". Everybody liked the funny sounding word, and that Bingo got its name.
Lowe's bingo sets, which came with 12 or 24 cards and number tokens, proved to be just as successful as anticipated. The game needed a little more work though, as the bingo cards had only numbers, and creating new unique Bingo cards became more and more difficult. Lowe overcame this obstacle by adding the letters B - I - N - G - O to the top of the Bingo cards. This small addition makes it possible to create over 500 million billion billion unique Bingo cards!
Adding of the letters was important, but so was one little church in Pennsylvania. There is one quick thinking parishioner came up with the idea of using Bingo to raise funds for the church. The fundraiser turned out to be a huge success, so churches and clubs of all sorts soon followed the example, adding to the games already huge popularity.
From 1930s Bingo grew in popularity, until it peaked around mid-1970s. It is still popular and one of the few games everyone knows how to play. Bingo is played all over the world at over one hundred thousand Bingo halls.
With its imminence popularity, it was not surprising that Bingo became one the first games to go online in the mid-1990s, when internet started to reach regular people. Nowadays playing online Bingo is a popular hobby just like regular Bingo is, with over 200 online bingo halls found on the net.