The History of Bingo

If you’ve never heard of Bingo in your life, you probably did not hear of Facebook, either. In which case, under which rock have you been living?

People who have visited a retirement home at least once can attest to the popularity of bingo, and millions of players worldwide are the living proof that people like to get together and shout. The bingo game is very easy to pick up, brings massive amounts of joy and the thrilling experience of almost tasting the jackpot while you are daubing the last numbers on your card.

But how did this great social game came to be? Who was the first person to ever shout Bingo, and since then, what was the engine responsible for making this one of the most played games in the entire world? Let us take you through a short history of this crowd-pleasing gambling game.

The First Known Records Of Bingo

It would be arrogant of the modern man to consider that he invented this simple game – the truth is that people have been playing variations of bingo for hundreds of years before it turned into the one you frequently see on bingo sites.

The birthplace of Bingo was Europe, Italy to be precise. We’ve managed to date it back to 1530 when a very similar game to the one we know today was played under the name of Lo Gioco del Lotto Italia but in the form of a national lottery game, which is still being held every Saturday, almost without pause.

The lottery players had bingo cards with rows, and random numbers would be drawn out of sacks and announced to the room.

By the late 1770s, the game became so popular that it made its way to France. Wealthy Frenchmen took a real liking to it as a social game and helped popularize it. From here, other European countries picked it up and started using it as a teaching tool in schools and for countless nights of fun with friends.

Italian Lottery Game to Modern Bingo

The lotto game made its way to North America, almost a century later, played as a country fair game near Atlanta. People used dried beans and mark-off numbers on a scrap cardboard bingo card, and they would call it “Beano.”

A toy salesman by the name of Edwin S. Lowe saw this game being played and fell in love instantly. A mere year later, he adopted it and worked with a math professor from the University of Columbia to create several bingo card variations. There would be fewer non-repeating number groups for when two or more persons were getting Bingo at the same time.

He then patented the game and called it Bingo after hearing someone shout “Bingo” instead of “Beano” by mistake. A mistake that truly made history.

Edwin S. Lowe Fun Fact: He was also the one to patent the game Yahtzee, for which he bought the rights from a couple he saw playing the game on their yacht.

Modern Bingo Variations

The Bingo game has definitely evolved over the years, although the main point stays the same. People love Bingo for its simplicity, but avid players will always look for new ways to remain interested in this game.

Luckily, bingo operators have made it their mission to offer players as many bingo variants as they can take, and this leads us to 2021, where the world of online bingo and traditional bingo halls soar in popularity day by day.

Bingo Players can take their pick at games and choose their favourite by speed, winning bingo pattern, the number of balls called, as well as the size of jackpots and the number of special games played during each bingo program.

This carnival game went a long way, and it is now played with various number sets, a vast array of bingo ticket layouts, even playing cards instead of bingo balls.

The main basic variations with complete playing guides can be found here:

Bingo’s Popularity In Different Countries

We all know Brits love their bingo, with over three million people playing daily games in the United Kingdom alone. We also know Bingo is always present in the USA’s nursing homes and churches, but how about the rest of the world?

Do Italians still play the lottery? Of course! Every Sunday! Apart from them, Germans love their Bingo games, and they even use them in schools to teach vocabulary and math.

In the rest of Europe, Sweden has a billion-dollar Bingo industry, and its players are predominately young people. This might come as a surprise for you, but ranking number two in the Bingo popularity stakes, we have Romania. Here, players prefer an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar bingo hall over bingo sites, and they even have a wildly popular Bingo game show called Bingo Romania.

With the rise of online bingo, it seems like Japan, out of all countries, became an avid fan of bingo and quickly became the world’s second-biggest market for online bingo.

Fun Bingo Facts

  • The largest-ever online bingo game was held in Tokyo, Japan, in 2014 with a record participation of 493,824 players.
  • The largest-ever classic bingo game was held in Bogota, Columbia in 2006, when over 70.000 people played for a total of $250,000 in prizes.
  • In 2014, a game of bingo broke the record for the biggest balls. We know. The balls were more than 60 cm in size, and the game was held to raise money for male cancer awareness.


British Bingo –

American Bingo –