|History of Bingo
In the U.S., bingo
was originally called "beano". It was a country
fair game where a dealer would select numbered discs from a cigar box
and players would mark their cards with beans. They yelled "beano"
if they won.
The game's history can be traced back to 1530, to an
Italian lottery called "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia," which
is still played every Saturday in Italy. From Italy the game was introduced
to France in the late 1770s, where it was called "Le Lotto",
a game played among wealthy Frenchmen. The Germans also played a version
of the game in the 1800s, but they used it as a child's game to help students
learn math, spelling and history.
When the game reached North America in 1929, it became
known as "beano". It was first played at a carnival near Atlanta,
Georgia. New York toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe renamed it "bingo"
after he overheard someone accidentally yell "bingo" instead
of "beano". He hired a Columbia University math professor, Carl
Leffler, to help him increase the number of combinations in bingo cards.
By 1930, Leffler had invented 6,000 different bingo cards. (It is said
that Leffler then went insane.)
A Catholic priest from Pennsylvania approached Lowe about
using bingo as a means of raising church funds. When bingo started being
played in churches it became increasingly popular. By 1934, an estimated
10,000 bingo games were played weekly, and today more than $90 million
dollars are spent on bingo each week in North America alone.