History Of Bingo

Popularity of bingo in the US

In 1929 Atlanta it is said that a carnival visitor, Edwin Lowe, saw a similar game of Beano being played and was amazed by the level of involvement of players who only gave up the game after being told to leave during the very early hours of the morning from the night before. Edwin Lowe demonstrated the game as he remembered it to friends in New York using dried beans, rubber numbering stamps and playing boards. His friends loved the game. The name is said to have originated when an excited participant called out ‘Bingo!’ instead of the name Beano upon winning the game. The Lowe bingo game had two versions, the first set 12 cards for $1 and a second set $2 for 24 cards. Bingo was a huge success.

Lowe began to improve the popularity of the game and by the 1940s the style of play had spread all over the USA. As time continued the game became popular as a method small-stakes gaming that was widely used for charitable events. Lowe developed many competitors and all he asked was that they pay $1.00 a year to conduct the games and use the name Bingo

Developing bingo in the UK

In the United Kingdom, it was played similarly but with a slight variation the game increased in popularity alongside its American counterparts and helped to become a worldwide phenomenon. With advancements in technology, the game of Bingo has progressed. Rather than different methods of calling such as marked balls in a spinning wheel, computerised versions of random number generation have been put into place further reinforcing legitimization and reducing any chances of cheating and deception. Online games have also become popular in recent years either for fun or betting, the format of the game lending itself easily to the Internet. Broadband has now allowed the game to develop much more interactively and is played in a live environment all over the UK and Europe. Since the crackdown on online gaming in the USA, the number of US bingo sites has dramatically dropped whilst the UK is showing exponential growth.

Given its simple rules and addictive play, the game can be seen as a pastime that is firmly emplaced as an incredibly fun and easy institution in the world of gaming. When looking back at its history we can note the prevalence of bingo as a tool for gaming, learning or pure entertainment and there is no doubt that it will continue in future generations.

Bingo as far back as the 16th century

Bingo has a long history going back centuries as far back as the early 1500s. Bingo is an amalgamation of other games of chance but can be traced back most directly to the Spanish lottery game of “Lo Giuoco Code Loto” that was popular in the 1530s. It evolved in 18th century France where the familiar traits of reading out random numbers and players having cards and tokens to keep track of their game. It then became popular as en educational tool in Germany to teach children animal names, spelling and multiplication tables.

Modern Commercial Bingo in the UK

Commercial bingo is a popular pastime in Britain. There are over 600 licensed clubs in operation, and over 1,000 other clubs and smaller institutions where the game is played under a bingo license.

In 2008 there were over 70 million club admissions, and it is estimated that there are currently about 2.7 million active club members.

Bingo is the only gambling activity where women are more likely to play than men. Seventy percent of people who play bingoare women, and thirty percent are men. Bingo is seen as more social than gaming.

Under the Gambling Act 2005, bingo operators require a bingo operating licence from the Gambling Commission to operate, and some key members of staff and managers may need personal licences.

Non-remote bingo operators also need to have been granted a premises licence by their local Licensing Authority.