History of Bingo

Bingo, a simple and easy to play card game, is extremely popular the world over. Owing to this, the game has been made available in both land-based and online bingo rooms. The introduction of bingo to the online platform has made the game more accessible to bingo enthusiasts the world over. It allows players to access the game from any location they choose to.

In addition, online bingo makes it possible for players to play the game against those internationally. Land-based bingo rooms too are extremely popular with players who enjoy playing the game in real-time. The history of bingo can be traced to these bingo halls. Here is a chronological representation of how the game developed:

1500 to 1900

The history of bingo began in Italy, in the 16th century. The game is inspired by Lo Giuoco del Lotto d Italia, an Italian lotto game. The game was developed over two centuries and it gradually gained popularity among those who played it.

In 1778, the French created Le Lotto – their unique version of the game of lotto. Each of its cards had close to 27 squares in a specific layout. This typically comprised of three rows and nine columns. The columns had numbers between one and ninety, and only five squares in the rows had numbers in them. Once each player in the bingo room got a card, the dealer would call out numbers. To mark the numbers on the card, players would use chips on them. A player was declared the winner only when he completed a row.


Over time, in Germany, another version of this game was developed. Called Beano, the game closely resembled bingo as it is played today. It became extremely popular among players by 1929. The game earned its moniker from beans that were used as markers on the cards. Beans replaced the chips that were used on bingo cards a decade before. A player was considered the winner, if he completed a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of numbers on his card. The player would inform the dealer and other players that he was the winner, by declaring ‘Beano’.

This version of bingo played today was made popular by Edwin S Lowe. A New York based salesman, Lowe travelled to Atlanta, and saw a game of Beano in progress. He took the game back with him when he returned to America. When he played the game with his friends, one of them – the winner – called out ‘Bingo’, when she won it. This gave the game the name used now in land-based and online bingo rooms. In 1929, when the market crashed, bingo rose in popularity. This is an important event in the history of bingo, as people then took up the game to earn additional money.

In the later part of the 19th century, bingo was incorporated into the field of education. It was used by tutors to teach mathematics and spellings to young students. Also called math bingo and spelling bingo, these versions of the game are still played by many across the globe.


By 2000, the game had become popular as a fund raising game. Around that time, a pastor in Pennsylvania used bingo to raise money to meet his parish’s financial needs. When he used the bingo sets and noticed that the game had too many winner he sought the help of Carl Leffler. A professor of Mathematics, Carl Leffler created new bingo combinations that could make the game harder. In the history of bingo, this became an important point, as these combinations are even now used to play the game.