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Bingo is popular with the older generations – people who flocked to town halls to enjoy their favorite pastime. Armed with motivation and a card, they would sit patiently, hoping to hear the magic number. Then they would leap up and yell ‘bingo’, causing an uproar as they beckoned their winnings. Bingo was popular – in churches, schools, meetings, you name it! So, when it finally went online, thanks to the best bingo sites, its fans were happy that it was now a tap away. Moreover, this accessibility made it easier for younger generations to understand the fuss about this game. And they, too, fell in love with this game of chance and numbers. So, what exactly is Bingo, and how did it come to be? We explore this and more in this piece:

The Gameplay

Bingo is quite an exciting game. As a player, you get a card filled with numbers. The premise is to mark off numbers on that card. The tickets vary based on the variation you play. For example, UK bingo has 90 balls, yet US bingo has 75 balls. Once you have marked off the numbers, the caller starts drawing numbers from a vantage point. They call out a number, and you should check if your numbers match what’s been stated. If you are the first person to mark off all your numbers and yell ‘bingo’, you win! It’s that easy – anyone can play it, making it a popular game across the world.

The Origins – A Walk Down Memory Lane

Housey-Housey (the UK), Tambola (India), Kinzo (Quebec), or Bingo (the US) – these are some of the names used to describe this game. And no matter what you call it, the origin is the same. So, how did it all start?

Let’s introduce another name – Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia. That’s right – Bingo dates back to Italy in the 16th century. Once it became a popular option, it spread to France, where people regarded it as Le Lotto. It is then that it made its way to Europe towards the 18th century, finding its way to the UK where players could not get enough of it. Later on, Germans discovered it and used it as an educational tool. It turns out that the number combos were ideal in teaching children history, spelling, and even math!

For the most part, Bingo was fairly known. But it was Erwin S. Lowe who took the game to the next level. The story goes that he was traveling through a carnival in Georgia, where he came across Bingo. At the time, it was known as Beano, as people used beans to mark the numbers (picture that!) He quite loved the game and went ahead to play it with one of his friends. She, in turn, was so overjoyed on winning that she yelled Bingo rather than Beano! Being a toy manufacturer, Erwin understood a good deal when he saw one. So, he started printing cards on which he increased the number of combinations. He would then package the cards and sell them in the name of Bingo! He patented the modern bingo card design in 1942, creating the standard for the game for decades to come.

The game was such a hit that soldiers turned to it even during the Second World War to ease their minds. And in the decades that followed, churches and communities used the game to raise funds for their projects.

The Online Craze

Bingo was quite a hit globally and was set to go far. But in the early 2000s, the numbers started dwindling. Fewer people were heading to bingo halls. The taxes, smoking bans, and commutes were getting in the way. And as such, the bingo revenues started to fall. But all hope was not lost. Thanks to technology, players could now access Bingo online. The gaming premise is pretty much the same, only that players can now wager their chances via phone, desktop, and other smart devices.

To date, the Bingo industry generates billions of dollars a year. It owes to the accessibility of online games and the increasing gaming variations. This game continues to grow quickly, and its future looks quite promising – more so with AI and VR technology to boot its growth.

Fun Facts

Do you want to gain more insights into the Bingo game? Here goes:

  • People in the UK spend more money on bingo tickets than on all football events in the year,
  • Bingo cards are different – what you find in the UK will not hold in the US,
  • People named Margaret are statistically favored to win the game,
  • It’s not just for the old – most players are actually aged 35 and below!
  • The game is over 500 years old,
  • The average game lasts anywhere between three and six minutes,
  • Playing Bingo can help you relieve stress and is good for your brain,
  • Australians shout ‘housie’ instead of ‘bingo’,
  • 8% of the people in the UK play this game, and
  • Americans spend up to $90 million a week buying Bingo cards,
  • Superstitious players circle their chairs thrice before sitting down to play.

Oh, and one last point – players get furious if you yell ‘Bingo’ when it’s false. So, unless you want to get kicked out of a hall, be sure. That’s all you need to know about this game. It’s all about having fun, socializing, and probably making some money. Enjoy!


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