Many years back if you listened to the old folks talk about a good game of bingo, you would have heard them refer to the game as “beano”. It makes sense to call it this because the cards were marked using beans.
It is quite an interesting story how it got changed to bingo, and to the surprise of many the actual game itself originated as an Italian lottery that is in fact still in existence today played on every Saturday in Italy.
Germany adopted a flair for the game as well, but used it from an educational point of view as a resource for teaching the children math and spelling.
The game of beano received its new title when an individual through excitement yelled “bingo” instead of “beano” when she won a round. This was overheard by Edwin S. Lowe who was quite a successful toy maker and overheard this error. You won’t be surprised to hear that this all took place in a carnival setting either. After all it’s really not a carnival, if there isn’t a few bingo settings lining the midway.
Lowe envisioned the potential of the game he now dubbed Bingo, and went about hiring a Math Professor to expand the odds of winning by coming up with multiple combinations of numbers. Professor Leffler did his job well by designing 6,000 cards for Lowe’s game, however rumor has it that Leffler went insane after this.
Bingo really got its roots and settled in as a game to be reckoned with when Lowe allowed a Priest to use the game as a way to raise funds for the church. By 1936 this simple game turned out to be an amazing money maker for both those who ran the game and those who played it. Figures dictate that at that time there were about 10,000 bingo games being enjoyed on a weekly basis.
So really has the game of bingo grown all that much since then? Well they say figures don’t lie and it’s been said that this simple little game draws over $90 million dollars per week throughout North America.
The history of bingo really is quite an intriguing story. What is just as intriguing though when you look at bingo today is that it really hasn’t changed all that much. Sure the equipment has but the concept and general rules of the game haven’t. How could they? It really can’t get any more simple than what it is.
Let’s take a quick look at the equipment of bingo. It started off with a cigar box filled with wooden discs with numbers written on them, some thick cardboard cards with five vertical columns and five horizontal lines with the word bingo written across the top. Oh, and mustn’t forget about the center free. Then, some good old peas to mark the numbers off as they were called.
Then it moved up to round wooden balls with numbers marked on them, and a wire cage to spin them around. The cards were now made of much thinner cardboard. The beans were replaced with brightly colored round discs called bingo chips. These were conveniently opaque so the numbers could easily be seen when the runner would call back the numbers for verification.
Then we moved on to the computerized machines that would spit out the now larger plastic balls, the throw away cards, and the ink dabbers.
So is that the end of the story? Not really, from here we evolved to the amazing virtual game of bingo that is enjoyed by millions around the world known as the online bingo game!