History of Bingo

Bingo is a type of gambling game in which players match and mark numbers on cards randomly given to them by a caller. To win, players need to complete a winning pattern, either a row or diagonal. Shouting “Bingo!” declares victory in this game. It is a game of luck and chance, played physically in social settings or online at bingo websites.

Bingo was initially invented in Italy in the 1960s as the Italian national lottery called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia”. Later, a modern version of bingo was introduced in the 1920s in New York by a toy salesman, Edwin S Lowe. He named the game “Bingo” after hearing someone accidentally shout the word instead of “Beano” when they won.

History Of Bingo

Bingo quickly became famous in the United States and was brought to the UK by French aristocrats. They loved the nature and entertaining attributes of the game. Later, bingo became a significant game in the UK with thousands of lovers. The UK Gambling Commission set various rules and regulations for the game to ensure fair play.

There are multiple variations of bingo, including 75-ball bingo, 90-ball bingo, 80-ball bingo, 30-ball bingo, and themed bingo games. However, players must be 18 or older to legally play bingo for real money in the UK.

🌟 How Was Bingo Invented?

Bingo was invented as an early form of lottery game in the 16th century.  In 1530, Italy introduced the “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia” game, which became bingo. This Italian lottery game influenced similar games in Europe. In the late 1770s, the concept came to France known as “Le Lotto.”

The game also moved to Germany in the 1800s with a unique twist. Germans used this game as an educational tool for children to learn math, spelling, and history while enjoying the game.

However, the “bingo” we know today was introduced in the early 1920s by a toy salesman, Edwin S. Lowe. He saw the game being played at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. Lowe recognised the potential of the game and popularised it under the name “bingo”.

Bingo quickly gained popularity in the US, UK, and other parts of the world. It was mostly played physically in traditional bingo halls. However, the invention of the internet in the late 20th century began a new era for bingo.

There are many online bingo platforms now that allow players to enjoy bingo games from the comfort of their homes. These bingo sites offer new variations, faster play, and a more exciting gaming experience. This transition of bingo to digital platforms expanded the reach of bingo and attracted a new generation of players.

Where Did Bingo Get Its Name?

Bingo got its name during its early days when it was initially called “beano”. In the 1920s, Edwin S. Lowe, a toy salesman, saw some people playing this game at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. Players used beans to mark their cards, hence the name “beano.”

However, it is believed that one enthusiastic player mistakenly shouted “Bingo!” instead of “Beano” upon winning. Inspired by this, Lowe began organising and selling sets under this new name, which quickly gained popularity across the United States.

👨🏻‍💻 Where Was Bingo Played Before it Was Online?

The early variations of bingo were 75 ball bingo, 90 ball bingo, 80 ball bingo, and 30 ball bingo, also known as speed bingo. The game was played in physical spaces before its online and digital transition. Bingo was often played at carnivals and social events. In the 20th century, there were dedicated bingo halls to offer a fun and interactive experience for players.

Edwin S. Lowe popularised bingo in the US and hired a math professor to create a vast number of unique bingo cards, reducing repeat winners and frustrations. When a Catholic priest faced fundraising challenges, he approached Lowe about using bingo as a fun way to raise church funds. That’s how bingo became popular in churches.

E.S. Lowe also built a casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. This introduced bingo to the casino world. Now, bingo is a significant part of retirement and nursing homes too.

The places where bingo was played before it was online are listed below:


There were casinos with special bingo halls where players could participate in bingo games and other gambling activities. Edwin Lowe not only introduced casino bingo but also built a casino hotel with bingo on the Las Vegas Strip.


Churches often hosted bingo nights as fundraisers or community-building events. These sessions provided a social and relaxed environment for players to enjoy the game while supporting charitable causes.

Bingo in Retirement and Nursing Homes

Bingo wasn’t created specifically for senior facilities. However, it gradually became a beloved part of retirement and nursing homes. It offers residents a fun and engaging activity to enjoy together. The simple rules and minimal physical requirements of the game made it perfect for older people.

Social Clubs

Social clubs and community centres frequently hosted bingo nights as part of their entertainment activities. These gatherings provided a casual and friendly atmosphere for players to enjoy the game while socialising with friends and neighbours.

Private Parties and Home Games

Bingo was also played in private settings like family gatherings or house parties. Private parties provided a more intimate setting for people to enjoy the game together.

⭐ How Did Bingo Become Popular in the UK?

Bingo started with a lottery game called “Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia.”  Players marked numbers on cards matching drawn balls. Various types of Bingo emerged across Europe, including “Le Lotto” in France. These early steps contributed to the international spread of the game.

Bingo arrived in North America in the 19th century under the name Beano. However, it arrived in the UK from Italy. Initially, the game didn’t become crazy popular in the UK. The Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 was a significant moment in making the game famous. The act led to the opening of numerous bingo halls in the UK, making the game more accessible and popular.

Bingo halls became vibrant social centres to offer a fun and interactive experience for bingo players. Apart from winning, these bingo halls provided a sense of community and a break from the hectic routine to players.

🕰️ How Has Bingo Changed Over the Years?

Bingo was played in physical spaces with beanbags and paper cards in its early days. Over time, it moved online with more convenience, faster play, and wider variations. Technology has played a great role in introducing people to electronic dabbers and interactive platforms, while online chat rooms maintain the social aspect. However, bingo’s gameplay has remained the same despite all the changes.

Here’s how bingo has changed over the years.

Enhanced Gameplay Experience

Over the years, bingo has evolved to offer a more interactive experience for players. Modern online bingo platforms feature advanced graphics, animations, and sound effects to enhance the gameplay. Moreover, there is a wider variety of games with different balls, patterns, and themes now, making the game more engaging and enjoyable.

Variety and Innovation

There is a huge variety of variations and innovations in bingo nowadays to meet the preferences of all types of players. From traditional 75 ball and 90 ball bingo to themed games and special events, there is now a wide range of options available to players, offering fresh and exciting experiences. There are more interactive elements, bonus rounds, and mini-games to add an extra layer of excitement and surprise.

Replacement of Bingo Calls

The traditional bingo calls, such as “legs eleven” or “two little ducks,” have gradually been replaced by digital features. While some players still enjoy the nostalgia of traditional calls, online bingo platforms use automated systems or visual cues to announce numbers. This simplifies the gameplay and ensures accuracy.

Shift to Online Bingo

The most significant change in recent years has been the shift from traditional physical bingo to online platforms. The convenience and accessibility of online bingo have revolutionised the game. It allows you to participate in the game from anywhere at any time. This transition has opened up new opportunities for social interaction, global competition, and innovative features like chat rooms and multiplayer modes.

Addition of Social Features

Online bingo platforms are using social features to keep the community aspect of traditional bingo halls alive. The chatrooms and communities at bingo sites have active bingo players from all over the world. You can chat with each other during games, join virtual communities, and participate in special events and tournaments. This allows you to share your tips and problems with fellow players and learn from each other’s experiences.

❓ FAQs

What Was Bingo Originally Called?

Bingo was originally called Beano in its early days. This name came from the practice of using beans to mark off numbers on cards. The game gained popularity at carnivals and fairs in the early 20th century, where players would shout “beano” when they completed a line or pattern on their cards. However, the name “bingo” came when one excited player mistakenly shouted “Bingo!” instead of “Beano” upon winning.

Is Bingo a Good Fundraiser?

Yes, bingo can be an excellent fundraiser for organisations looking to raise funds while providing an entertaining experience for players. With engaging gameplay and the chance to win prizes, bingo games can attract a good crowd and generate donations.

Is Online Bingo More Popular Than Traditional Bingo?

Yes, online bingo has become more popular than traditional bingo because of its accessibility, convenience, and technological advancements. Additionally, online bingo games offer a wider variety of game options and themes to meet the preferences of different players. However, traditional bingo still holds a special place in the hearts of many players, especially those who enjoy the social aspect of gathering in bingo halls and interacting with fellow players.

How Many People Play Bingo in The UK?

Statistics suggest that more than 3.5 million people in the UK play bingo online regularly. This shows that online bingo might be more popular than the traditional one.

What Does the Word 'Bingo' Mean?

Bingo is a playful variation of Beano, the game’s earlier name, and an onomatopoeia that mimics the happy shout of a winner.

Jennifer McFayden is a creative and innovative writer, a true expert in her field, specialising in online bingo reviews and content. With several years of experience in the online gambling industry, she offers a fresh perspective and insight. Her admirable work, a testament to her deep understanding of the industry, is often showcased on popular industry websites.

She offers professional opinions and tips on how to improve players' games, make the right decisions, and prevent overspending in bingo games. Her motivational, direct, and simple tone and writing style help readers understand even the most complex topics in bingo.

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Thomas Jones, the founder and managing director of Bingo.sites.co.uk, is a veteran with almost 12 years of experience in the bingo industry. As the managing director, he oversees all the vital operations on the website. Thomas Jones is a distinguished representative in the online gambling industry and has been featured in several leading industry publications like SiGMA and the iGB Affiliate.His understanding of the online bingo industry has played a role in BingoSites.co.uk becoming a leading bingo comparison website.

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