The History of Bingo

history of bingo

The history of bingo says that the earliest recognizable form of the game of bingo, and the one which resembles most closely the game we play today, was the Italian national Lottery that was introduced after the reunification of Italy. This game was known as the Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia and it was introduced there in 1530. The game was played on a weekly basis and in fact still plays today. This lottery contributes significantly to the budget of the Italian Government and they receive contributions in excess of $75 million a year.

The intelligentsia of France caught onto this game around 1778, and it was also introduced to Germany in the 1800’s where it was used to teach children simple word and number skills. Lottery and numbered styled games have become popular learning tools. Throughout the world bingo is still used in schools such as Japan to teach elementary students basic English skills.

Apparently the history of bingo says Bingo was only introduced to the UK in the 1930’s, however this argument has come up for debate and there are schools of thought that believe it was already available in the UK prior to being introduced as a popular game by Eric Morley. The majority of the history of bingo is centered in the US with a toy salesman known as Edwin Louw, who came across the game of “Beano” at a county fair and allegedly claimed it. He commissioned a maths professor to come up with more combinations of numbers on the bingo cards, and this professor apparently went quite insane after having to come up with so many combinations of number. He obviously completed the job first before going quietly mad however.

The evolution of the game of Beano into Bingo apparently happened when Mr. Lowe took the game home with him after seeing how popular it was at the fair. One player was so overcome with excitement at winning, they forgot they had to yell “BEANO” and yelled “BINGO” instead. Unfortunately as this game cam put of the public domain, no one stood a chance in copyrighting it. If they had  been able to do this, goodness knows how rich they might have become. Today in the US alone people spend more than $90 million a week playing bingo and in the UK last year ₤600 million was spent playing this game.