The History of Bingo, Where Does It Come from?

The History of BingoWhat exactly is Bingo? Who invented it? And where does it come from?

Bingo has been part and parcel of UK life for so long that most people just take it for granted. But how on earth did it become so popular? And wht are so many people flapping their bingo wings every Thursday and friday night and having a great time?

Well, we will try and explain all. Bear with us.

Bingo, Housey Housey (as it use to be called in the UK) or Housie (in The Antipodes) is an extremely old gambling game whose origins have become somewhat murky in the mists of time. Players mark off numbers on a ticket as they are randomly announced, and try and land winning combinations. That much you should already know!

The North Americans have their own version of Bingo, (the tickets and the calls are slightly different). They also have different gallons and accents. Go figure!

A bingo ticket will normally boast 27 spaces, set in 9 columns and 3 rows. Each row has 5 numbers and 4 blanks. Each column has either one, two, or (sometimes) three, numbers:

The first column has numbers 1 to 9,
The second column has numbers from 10 to 19,
The third 20 to 29 etc etc until the last , which has numbers from 80 to 90.

The game is lorded over by a caller, who calls out the numbers and checks winning tickets. He or she will communicate the prize for each game before it begins. They´ll then say: “Eyes down” to kick off (there´s loads of weird jargon in bingo- it´s part of its appeal).

The Caller then starts to reel off numbers as they are randomly chosen, either by machine or by drawing counters from a bag or by using balls in a draw machine a bit like the lottery.

Typically prizes are awarded if you get:

A Line (horizontal)
2 Lines (horizontal)
Full House — all 15 numbers on the ticket.

Where does bingo come from?

So where does bingo come from? Well, the most popular theory is that it evolved from the Italian lottery, Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia. The game spread north to France (Le Lotto) and was played by the French upper classes. Bingo was even employed in nineteenth century Germany in schools to help teach children mathmatical tables & spelling.

It spread to the US and the UK thanks to a guy called Edwin S. Lowe who was a toy salesman from New York.

He discovered a game called Beano in the US- whoever completed the pattern on the cards had to shout “Beano”. The game had been imported into the US via Germany and Lowe saw it being played in a carnival. Lowe tweaked the game and tested it out on his friends and it took off. One of his friends was so thrilled to win, when she won, she yelled “Bingo” instead of “Beano”. Lowe liked “Bingo” so he stuck with that name……and that is how we got “Bingo”!

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