Bingo History

Bingo was derived from a game called lotto which was played in Italy almost 500 years ago in 1530 before Italy was even unified (Italy became a unified country in 1861 and became a republic on 2nd June 1946). The Lotto played back then was a type of National lottery and has been played almost continuously in Italy every week ever since. Interestingly the name lotto is now used for the National Lottery in the UK.

By the 1770s, the game had spread to France where it was called "Le Lotto" and played by wealthy men, it continued to spread and by the 1800's the Germans had adopted it as a game for children to help improve their counting and mathematics skills. It was not until reaching the USA in the early 1900's that the game really started to resemble Bingo as we know it today.

The actual word Bingo came the word Beano. Beano was played at carnivals and allegedly a man had seen a similar game in Germany and has made a few changes and called it Beano and ran a stand at carnivals and traveling fairs. The game was a massive hit and was very similar to Bingo is now except that players used beans to cover the numbers, hence the name Beano. Rumor has it that upon completed their card one played got so excited that they got tongue tied and instead of calling out Beano they shouted out Bingo and the name stuck.

In the US the game remains very much the same although they now have electronically printed Bingo cards (5 rows by 5 columns of numbers ranging between 1 and 75) and of course beans are no longer used big marker pens or bingo daubers are now used. Learn more about US Bingo.

In the UK the game has been changed a little more so that the bingo cards now have 3 rows and 9 columns and have blank spaces on the cards (so not every cell has a number on it). A Bingo dauber is still used and just like in the US a caller still calls out the numbers. Learn more about UK Bingo.

In Australia and New Zealand the game is played in the exact same way as it is in the UK, however in Australia and New Zealand it is called Housie instead of Bingo.


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