Bingo History

Bingo History – The Italian and French Lottery

Bingo History dates back to the 1500’s, where it was a form of lottery. This lottery was called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia”, the Italian version of the lottery. The players had cards which had squares drawn on it with numbers in them. The winning numbers were then pulled out from a bag.

A Frenchman had then developed their own version of the Italian lottery in the 1700’s, calling the game “Le Lotto”. This Frenchman printed out numbers ranging from 1 through 90 on these cards. The squares on the cards were made up of 3 rows and 9 columns.  Each number was randomly placed in the squares. As with Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia, the winning numbers were drawn out of a bag, the player who has those winning numbers on their card will mark that number. The 1st player to have marked a full horizontal row of numbers, is the winner.

Beano

Bingo History continues, where the game Bingo, as we know it, was not always known by this name. It started out as being called “Beano”. It was called this in America in the 1900’s. At the time, the game was very popular in the carnivals. This was the time when Hugh J Ward had standardized the game in the Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh areas. The way Beano was played is, players would place a bean on the number on the card, if that number was called by the pitchman. If the players’ card had a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line filled with beans, they would shout “Beano!” and receive a small doll as a prize.

Beano Develops into Bingo

A New York man called Edwin S Lowe had developed “Beano” into “Bingo”. Lowe was a toy salesman, with his business on the brink of failure due to the market crashing. While travelling, Lowe had come across a carnival near Jacksonville where he witnessed Beano being played. He also noticed how addictive this game is, as the players did not want to stop playing.

When Lowe arrived back home in New York, he invited his friends over to play Beano and he acted as the pitchman. During one round of the game, it is claimed that Lowe had heard a player shout “Bingo” by mistake, instead of “Beano” when the player had won a round of the popular game. Bingo had struck! With its growing popularity of the game he developed, it helped him kick-start his business again. Lowe’s Bingo game came in 2 variations, $1.00 for a 12 card set and $2.00 for a 24 card set.

Bingo History in Churches

A priest approached Lowe to utilise Bingo in order to raise funds for his church. The priest made a purchase of multiple $2.00 sets. Due to the low number of card combinations, it became less feasible to utilise Lowe’s card combinations on a large scale.

Lowe had then approached a maths professor by the name of Carl Leffler to assist him in creating more combinations of these Bingo cards with different number combinations. Lowe appointed the professor to create 6000 different cards. The more card combinations there already were created, the more difficult it became to create more. It is said that due to this extreme difficulty, it drew the professor to insanity!