The Beginnings of Bingo

Bingo is a game in which players match randomly chosen numbers to those located on electronically printed 5 x 5 matrices known as " bingo cards." The first person who successfuly matches the drawn numbers with the designated pattern wins the game and yells "Bingo!" to inform others of the win. In some countries, the game is utilized to allow gambling.

A similar game known as housie is popular in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. The main difference lies on the layout of the ticket and calling.

Did you know that the game of Bingo derived its name from the lowly bean? A game known as Beano was being played at country fairs across North America. Number discs pulled from a box of cigars by a yeller and players puts a mark on their cards with beans, shouting "Beano" if they win.

The game of bingo traced its roots to an Italian lottery known as "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D' Italia," in 1530. To this day, it is still played in Italy during Saturdays. During the late 1770s, it traveled to France where it was known as "Le Lotto," a game played by the wealthy and intellectual people of France. During the 1800s, a version of bingo was used by the Germans to teach math, spelling and history.

In 1929, it spread to North America where it was known by its original name of "beano". Edwin S. Lowe, a New York toy salesman, was credited for christening a new name for Beano. While making a visit to a carnival, he saw a woman commit mispronounce "Beano!" and instead shouted "Bingo." Motivated, Lowe introduced and spread his new game, "Bingo." Columbia University math professor Carl Leffler assisted Lowe in increasing possible combinations in the bingo cards. 6,000 various bingo cards were devised by Leffler by 1930. (It was believed that Leffler became insane afterwards.)

A Catholic priest from the state of Pennsylvania came to Lowe introducing the idea of using the game of bingo to raise much needed funds for the church. The game became very popular when churches did indeed start to utilize the game of bingo.

Since 1934, about 10,000 games of bingo are being played weekly, and to date more than $90 million dollars are exhausted on bingo each and every week in North America alone.

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