The Changing Face of Bingo

For a while, the good reputation of bingo seemed to be held only by pensioners who enjoyed congregating in musty rooms to chain-smoke and dab tickets. Thankfully that misconception didn’t last too long, and now the game is proudly enjoyed by players from all walks of life.

This is exactly how it should be. From its earliest days and forms, the game was a hit with players. It underwent several transformations; each one adding a tweak or a twist to refine play and offer all the more entertainment.

Dabbing tickets is no longer limited to rooms and halls, of course. With Giggle Bingo, players can play different versions of the game for real money online and on compatible mobile devices. Find out more about playing bingo online by reading our How To page.

Beginnings of Bingo

The very first appearance of bingo is unknown, but most sources point to it being in Italy, somewhere around 1530. The state lottery, known as Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia, inspired some enterprising individual to develop a new game.

Whoever it was combined elements of the lottery game with playing cards, which were also very fashionable at the time. The resulting game became immensely popular among Italians, and soon spread to Britain and France, as well as further afield in Europe.

As the game we now know as bingo spread through Europe, several variations were introduced. One of those happened in Germany in the 19th century, and became known as Tombola, a game in its own right.

Bingo Across the Atlantic

One of bingo’s predecessors appears to have arrived in Mexico before it came to the United States of America. In 1838, English archaeologist John Stephens described a game played there, called La Lotteria.

It used numbers ranging between one and 90, pieces of paper with five rows, and offered the prize to the first player to cover a row of numbers with corn.

When it first arrived in the USA, the game was known as Beano. One of the first mentions of it being played was at a jamboree held near Atlanta, sometime in the 1920s.

While at a game one day, Edwin Lowe heard a player shout “bingo!” instead of “beano!” Lowe thought it sounded much better, and decided to rename the game. Of course, renaming it wasn’t enough for Lowe.

He approached Columbia College mathematics teacher Carl Leffler, and asked him to help improve the card blends. Once satisfied with the adjustments made by Leffler, Lowe introduced his new, improved Bingo to the public.

Much like what happened in 16th century Italy, the game was an instant success. It became even more popular after a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania organised bingo games to raise funds for his parish.

By 1934, every week saw approximately 10 000 bingo games played across the United States of America.

Bingo and the Worldwide Web

Further variations were made to bingo. One of those, which saw the number of calls made reduced from 90 to 75, has become the world’s second most popular form of the game.

The next stage in the game’s evolution had more to do with where it is played than how it is played. In 1996, two years after the launch of the world’s first real online casino, a free bingo website was launched.

Within months, players were given the opportunity to dab tickets for real money, and in 1998, the game saw a resurgence in popularity.

Online bingo has come a long way since then, with themed games, integrated chat, and much more. Come play your favourite game at Giggle Bingo now!