In the UK alone around 4 million people regularly play bingo, also occasionally known as ‘Housey Housey’ both in UK bingo halls and online. Considered a form of cheap entertainment, bingo has been a firm favourite for decades and it is easy to see why, being both fun to play and a great way to socialise. With the rise of the internet it is now even easier than ever before to join in the fun, with bingo games at your fingertips and the opportunity to chat to other players from the comfort of your own home.
Who invented bingo and has it become the popular game it is today? Well, the truth is no one really knows for sure but the general consensus is that game’s origins are originally from the Italian Lottery or ‘Lo Guioco del Lotto D’Italia’ dating back to 1530. As other countries started playing, the game was slowly changed into a more modern recognisable form, for example in eighteenth-century France where it became ‘Le Lotto’, playing cards, tokens and the calling out of numbers were added and mainly played by the French aristocracy, or in Germany where the game was used to teach children to spell and for maths.
The term ‘Bingo’ comes from the US, originally played in carnivals, participants would shout ‘Beano’. In 1929, Edwin Lowe attended a carnival in Atlanta and seeing the reaction and fun the players were having decided to take the game back to New York. Originally played with beans, hence ‘Beano’, he added a board and numbers stamps, with the term ‘Bingo’ allegedly coming about after one of his friends accidentally called it out in an excited mistake when he won a game, it stuck ever since!
Lowe took his new game across the US and by the 1940’s the nation was gripped, thanks to it’s easy rules and social aspect, small stakes gambling was also introduced to up the ante. The UK version of bingo followed suite and grew along side it’s American counterpart to become the nationwide phenomenon it is today and with the ever adapting use of technology, including automated number drawing machines and computer generated games, Bingo has certainly moved with the times.
Bingo Halls are still very popular but with the move to modern online bingo sites, there is now more variety in games than ever before, with bigger jackpots and the chance to socialise worldwide. With it’s ability to adapt to the modern era, Bingo is now more popular than ever before and continues to grow becoming the digital force it is today.