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The History of Bingo

online bingoWhile many of us now play online bingo as regularly as clockwork, Bingo is a game that has changed and somewhat evolved over many years becoming the game that many people love and play on a daily basis.

The bottom line is, Bingo is a form of gambling and it has been a part of peoples lives in one way or another for hundreds, even thousands of years. Bingo is a little different though and is unlike other similar games of chance, it’s more of a community based game, its much more about the fun than the prize. However, it hasn’t always been that way.

Bingo originated as a lottery game, many of which were very popular across Europe in and around the 16th century, the games were based on the selecting of numbers at random, similar to todays National Lottery games, and it was purely down to luck and slowly it has transformed into the game played today.

Whilst bingo style games started from similar games played across Europe, the actual game of Bingo began in Mexico.

An English archaeologist named John Stephens embarked on a journey across Mexico in 1838 discovering a very interesting game in which the ‘caller’ selected balls with numbers on them from a bag while players crossed off numbers on a sheet from 1 – 90 with grains of corn. The winner was the first person to cover a row and would win the jackpot.

This is the first recording of the game and it was called “La Lotteria,” it is rumoured though that the origins of bingo go back even further and are even closer to home. It is believed that the British Navy picked up the game from the locals in Malta while stationed there in the early 1800s. They started to call it “Housey-Housey” or “Navy Tombola” and these names are still often associated to the game of bingo today.

Bingo was also being played in North America around the same time, but here it was being called “Beano,” because players were using beans instead of grains of corn. It’s rumoured that “Bingo” as a name originated here, when during a Georgia county fair in the year of 1929, a man called Edwin Lowe who was a toy seller, apparently heard a woman shout “Bingo” instead of “Beano.” Lowe loved the name and decided to use it for himself on his own product, and as they say, the rest is history!

Now, even though this is a fantastic story, no one really knows how true it is, because there are conflicting reports that the name “Bingo” was being used a year earlier, as far back as 1928 in the UK, but there are no official reports. The name Bingo was first noted as being used in the 1930s, meaning history agrees that the story of Edwin S. Lowe is probably true.

When did the callers begin?

By the late 1930’s, bingo was popular enough that people had started to fix the game by calling out incorrect numbers. This problem was solved when players were asked to draw the balls and this is when the game saw the introduction of the ‘caller’, the problem was that to this slowed the game down, so often callers would chirp up humorous calls to help fill the gap between calls, thus making the game more fun.

Many of the calls themselves have military names, the main reason being that the game was often played more by the British military in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Bingo is a game we can all play!

As you will probably know, a good game of bingo is often enjoyed by the elderly, and this is something that should always be encouraged, bingo is a fantastic way of keeping our older generations active, as well as brilliant social opportunities, the number-based game helps keep the grey matter in good working working order.

Meanwhile, online bingo proves popular with our younger generations, and many online bingo sites have helped modernise the game here and there while creating platforms for people from all walks of life and across the world to play. Bingo can also be a good way of teaching basic number skills to younger children.

It is possibly the ‘good fun’ element as to why bingo remains such a popular game to this day along with the social aspect of the game and the way it helps add value to community and promote communication, we can’t see the good old game of bingo going anywhere soon!

Where can I Play Bingo?

Bingo halls and clubs are scattered across the UK in there hundreds, and you’re never likely to be far from one but you can also venture into the world of online Bingo, as it grows in popularity.

You can play on laptops, tablets and smart phones on a variety of apps and websites, each one of them taking advantage of touch-screen technology and flexibility making the game of bingo easily accessible.

We are convinced that however you decide to play bingo, you definitely won’t it.

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