The Story of Bingo

Bingo’s origin may not be one of the famous bedtime stories but, it is definitely very phenomenal. The game of Bingo was, though, first formally introduced in the twentieth century, its trace can be found in the history in the form of a lottery played at gatherings and parties in Italy in the sixteenth century. In the eighteenth century it got the name of “lotto” in England. In France, the game was played using playing cards. The most intelligent use of Bingo was made in Germany where it was put in practice in educational process to teach multiplication tables, spelling and names of animals. In America, it is still used as an education tool and in other countries for teaching the usage of English as secondary language and mathematical concepts.

Bingo got its name from a game of dried beans, being played at a street party in a village near Atlanta. Since it was being played with beans, it was given the name Beano.  Edwin Lowe, a toy salesman, was observing the game and saw people participating with a lot of enthusiasm and interest. He took the cue from there to New York where he initiated Beano using rubber stamp for marking numbers and cardboard pieces. The game was an instant hit. It got its much loved name “Bingo” accidently when one of his friends called out “bingo” instead of “beano” by mistake out of sheer excitement.

Even before Bingo got its name, people were engaged in this soft gambling game at various celebrations and kitties and had a lot of female fan following. During the game, people enjoyed the light jokes with the numbers. These jokes were generally in the form of rhyming phrases used to call out the numbers, example, me and you at number 2, jump and jive – 35, men get naughty at  forty. These phrases kept the game lively and guests involved. It was then, called Housie because it is usually enjoyed indoors.

In modern times, this game has also evolved and undergone a make-over. The manual method of random shuffling has replaced a more automated style of electronically generated random numbers. Bingo is now available online and has broken the bonds of territorial boundaries. People from different countries can participate together, share their thoughts and communicate their diverse view points through chat rooms.

Bingo may have changed forms and names over the years, yet it still has not lost even an ounce of its charm.

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