In the UK, bingo has long been a favoured past time, dating back hundreds of years, and today pussy888, with the growing numbers who play bingo online, it seems it is more popular than ever before.
The games origins date back to the 16th Century, in the time of Elizabeth I, when the earliest recorded lottery was held. This form of gambling was mainly reserved for the upper classes, but poorer folk were said to have played a similar game called ‘shove groat’.
But ironically, during the late 17th Century, once gambling had been banned in the UK, bingo really started to flourish. Working women in London, who were known for playing dice games, were prohibited from this form of gambling by the Lord Mayor. In order to get around this, they decided to organise a game based around random numbers instead of dice.
During the 18th Century it was decided to gambling would be a good way to boost income for the government and games similar to bingo were played throughout the country. It continued to flourish through the 1800’s, but when the First World War began, the game suffered, although it was said to have still been played in the trenches. Between the two World Wars, bingo had gone under several different guises, such as ‘Housey-Housey’ and ‘Tombola’ (which was played in churches). It wasn’t until after the Second World War that bingo experienced its commercial boom, with bingo halls popping up around the country. And with the introduction of more lenient gambling laws, UK bingo hit a peak of popularity in the 60’s.
However as much as UK bingo has had a huge influence, another theory suggests that the game originated in Italy, again in the 16th Century. The ‘Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia’, the Italian Lottery that is still played every Saturday, was the inspiration for other lottery games in France (where it became known as ‘Le Lotto’) and Germany.
Of course, as well as being a popular game in Europe and the UK, bingo has had a long history in the US. It is believed the game reached American shores in the late 1920’s, but was then known as ‘beano’. The game was first played in Atlanta, Georgia and it was only when someone shouted ‘bingo’ instead of beano that one Edwin S. Lowe, a toy salesman from New York, decided to rename the game. Lowe then sought the services of the Colombia University Maths Professor, Carl Leffler, to assist him in creating more cards with more combinations.
It was also Lowe who was responsible for bingo’s long association with the church in North America. A Pennsylvanian Catholic priest approached him to see whether bingo could be used as a way of raising church funds. It is said that, by the mid 30’s, there were over 10,000 bingo games being held in the US each week. Today, millions are still spent every day by people who play bingo, online and in the US and UK bingo halls.