The Fascinating History of Bingo

The amazing success of the favourite pastime of many, Bingo does not happen overnight. It does has its own history, which dates back to it first appearance in the early 1800s. Bingo is a direct descendent of lottery-type games and its roots can be traced back into Europe, to the year 1530, when the Italian state run game of Lo Giuoco del Lotto was organized.

Over the centuries, an offshoot of that game spread through the whole of Europe. It was played quite differently from now as the game card was divided into 3 horizontal rows and nine vertical columns, instead of the usual 5x 5 grid. Another difference is that the numbers used are in the range of 1-90 while nowadays we use only numbers from 1 to 75.

The horizontal rows contained 5 numbered squares and 4 blank ones. As usual, the objective of the game was to cross out a horizontal row or vertical column. The blank squares were marked as “free” , similar to our present game, and the player needed to have the 5 numbered squares called.

Each player would be given one unique card and has to wait for the caller to draw numbers from a bag that contain wooden chips which are numbered from 1-90.

Bingo in its current form, grew out of the depression and was immediately a big hit with the Americans looking for a diversion from the everyday drudgery of life. As its fundraising potential was realized by churches and various groups, Bingo grew out of proportions and spread from coast to coast rapidly. By the middle of 1930s, thousands and thousands of Bingo games were played each week and this game subsequently ended up as the favourite pastime for many players.

On the east coast, New Jersey legalized the game in the 1950s and New York did the same in 1959. As other states realized the popularity of Bingo, the game simply became unstoppable and everyone seems to be playing it everyday.

The lucrative possibilities of Bingo was also attracting the attention of other neighbouring countries who were looking for revenue generating opportunities. Thus, it did not take long for these countries to jump onto the Bingo bandwagon.

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