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10 things you didn’t know about Bingo

Posted Thursday, 17-Sep-2015

Article contributed by BoardGamePrices.com staff.


So you think you know bingo? Think again. There’s more to this multi-million dollar industry than meets the eye. Here are 10 fun facts about bingo which you probably didn’t know about.


The beginning of Bingo

The very first bingo game was invented around about 1530 in Italy, where it was known as ‘Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia’. From Italy, it did not begin to catch on in other countries in any significant degree until the 1770’s, when it appeared in France.


Bingo was first invented in Italy.
Bingo was first invented in Italy.


The game continued to spread across the globe, but it didn’t actually gain its name until the 1920’s, when American entrepreneur and toy seller Edwin S. Lowe toured the country selling the game under the name of “Beano”, referring to the beans used to cover the numbers. The game was renamed “Bingo” after someone shouted that word by mistake.


Playing Bingo for a good cause

Bingo is traditionally a game for fun, but it is also often used as an educational tool. For example, in the early days of its conception, schools in Germany adopted the game in order to help teach math. Today, it’s used in a variety of different classroom settings, including language classes.

Many of us associate bingo with church halls and little old ladies, or perhaps a younger crowd if we’re talking about the increasing popularity of online bingo. However, you might not realize that the game can get more extreme – and in some cases it has. Take for example, the case of Underground Rebel Bingo, a game which probably equals the pure opposite of what we imagine bingo to be.


The Underground Rebel Bingo Club throws intense bingo parties geared toward the younger crowd.
The Underground Rebel Bingo Club throws intense bingo parties geared toward the younger crowd.


This kind of bingo first appeared in a church hall in London, and in many ways what’s happening around the game is as important as who is winning and what prizes are available. Far ruder, cruder calls replace the traditional bingo calls of “Two Fat Ladies”, and players are able to daub one another as well as their bingo cards.

Speaking of London, many consider bingo to be at the heart of British culture. In many ways it’s one of the most British gambling games there is. So it may come as a surprise to find out that the game only actually arrived here in the 1950’s. When it did though, it certainly caught on!


Bingo’s new audience

While many associate bingo with the older crowd, the game is now becoming more popular with a younger audience. It’s estimated that the average bingo age currently sits at about 30 years old.

Right from the beginning, one of the leading bingo companies was Mecca bingo – though at that point it was known as Top Rank. Mecca then paved the way for other big names, such as Gala Coral, to find success. It is interesting to note that over the years, these two companies have remained two of the biggest names in the industry – even with the introduction of online gambling and the extra competition from sites like Cheers Bingo – one of the best bingo sites.


Online bingo is growing in popularity across the globe.
Online bingo is growing in popularity across the globe.


But even in competition with one another, linked games still played an important role in bingo culture. Just as today’s sites might team up to present linked or networked jackpot games, land-based bingo halls in Britain used to host a gigantic linked game each session.

The first online bingo site is typically said to have been launched in 2003. However, technically the first ever game was created by Parlay Entertainment, a gaming firm from Canada, who launched “Cyber Bingo” in 1996. Today, Parlay Bingo continues to be a strong contender in the bingo world of Canada and Australia.

Bingo is a massive business. You probably already knew that, but it’s bigger than you think – around 8% of the world’s population play bingo – just over 573 million. That’s why, if you can get on a bingo site, you’re looking at some big bucks if you play your cards right.

Published by BoardGamePrices.com

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