Nowadays online bingo is one of the most commonly played digital casino games. Tens of thousands play it on a daily basis, and the popularity of the game in its online form is only growing. It seems that the creation of online casinos has breathed new life into bingo, returning it to a peak of popularity it has not seen for a very long time.
This is, in fact, the most popular bingo has been since the game was first invented, centuries ago. Although the game never stopped being reasonably popular, especially in the United Kingdom where land based bingo halls were, and still are, a common sight, it is only now that bingo is seeing numbers comparable to when it was first a major sensation in the early 1800s.
Let’s take a look back in time and follow bingo, from its roots, to the online sensation it currently is.
Very Early Days
A game similar to bingo was played as far back as 1530 in Italy. It was not strictly the game of bingo, not using playing cards, and numbers not being called out, but the ancient game had enough similarities that most consider it the origin of modern day bingo. The game was called Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia, and was played as a form of entertainment by a large portion of Italy’s population.
France adopted this game over the years that followed, and referred to as Le Lotto, but it was not until the 1800’s that some very significant changes were made. Playing cards were added, as well as tokens and the act of numbers being read out, making it all but indistinguishable from how modern bingo.
Bingo As A Teaching Aid
The game of Le Lotto was widely played in France, but not the sensation it would be when finally being adopted by the United States. Still, Le Lotto was so popular in Europe that many schools in Germany used it as a way to help children learn. A great deal of schools in the early 1900s used the game to help teach children multiplication tables, animal names, and spelling. Some schools around the world still use this method even today.
Evolution To Modern Bingo
At last, as the 1920s rolled round, the game was adopted by the United States. A man named Hugh J. Ward set about making the game official, creating a rulebook and copyrighting it. Still though, the game was not yet a sensation, and only played by small groups of people. It was 9 years later that an event occurred that would catapult the game of bingo into being a nationwide sensation.
The story goes that a man named Edwin Lowe came upon a group of people playing the game of bingo at a carnival. But, at that time the game was still not yet known as bingo. The people were using beans to mark their playing cards, and calling out “beano” when a winner was declared. While watching the people play, Lowe noted that one woman was so excited about winning that she accidentally yelled out the word bingo, as opposed to beano.
The mistake got such a reaction from the other players that Lowe decided to adopt the word, and create a game of his own called bingo. The game proved to be an enormous success, and it was not long until games of bingo were being played across the United States. Apparently all it had taken to bring the game to the masses was a simple change of name.
Bingo The Sensation
By the 1940s in the United States bingo was a game so common that virtually everyone had played it, or at least heard about it. Friends played it at social gatherings, and various organisations, such as churches, held bingo days as a way to draw guests to special occasions. The home version of the game sold enormous numbers, and is still available to purchase to this day.
The game held this incredible mass appeal for many decades, well into the mid 1900s, leading up to the late 1900s. The popularity of the game waned somewhat beyond the 1960s, but was still commonly played enough that it survived well into the 2000s. And that bring us up to the present day.
Today, of course, bingo is again a highly popular game, played at dozens of online casinos, and at a number of dedicated bingo websites. There are many variations of the game now, but all have largely remained true to the game played since the 1800s.
The only real notable differences between early bingo and modern online bingo is that physical cards are no longer used, and tickets are issued as digital items. Numbers are still called out, however, and numbers marked off on tickets. Of course, today numbers are marked off clicking with a mouse, or tapping on a screen. But the word bingo is still called out, as it has been since the 1930s.