Many of us play it, many of us have wondered where and when it originated and how it has become so addictive. We want to paint a different picture for you, a picture in which the focus isn’t on the rules that we need to follow in order to play Bingo, but on understanding the roots of this famous game.
The first thing we need to know is that it’s a play on the word “beano” and it was first used in Italy, being described as a simple game with a clear purpose: managing to gather as many cards as one could after a dealer would select discs with different numbers from a box. To this day, Italians have gotten used to playing this form of lottery on a regular basis, the government itself owing a big part of its budget to this engaging activity.
Early history of Bingo
After gaining success, in the 18th century, the game migrated from Italy to France, making its debut among the wealthy Frenchmen with a slightly different name: “Le lotto”. Its layout was different from the one we are used to, with the playing card being divided into three horizontal and nine vertical rows. There were no similarities between cards and each individual would be handed 90 chips. After the caller read the number he had drawn from the box, the players would cover the respective number that appeared on their card, and the winner was the one who managed to cover an entire horizontal row.
A few years later, the Germans found a new inventive way of using the game previously known as a fun and interactive one, mainly played by adults. They introduced an altered version of the game, meant to increase children’s imagination and to help them be better at spelling, history and math. This educational version of Bingo was called Lotto and, as we all know, its name is still recognizable today, as a competitive company on the toys’ market. Its aim is to make the learning process of counting funnier and more engaging.
Bingo in the 20th Century
After reaching North America in the 20th century, the game acquired its well-known name. A salesman from Georgia was the first to put it on the map, after someone from the crowd unintentionally yelled “Bingo!” instead of “Beano!” while having fun at a carnival. Story goes that while walking among the numerous carnival booths, he couldn’t spot one that was open and no long after his wandering around, he found one booth that was filled with people. To his consternation, all the amusement consisted of some numbered discs, a table and some beans. Seeing the potential in his discovery, the next move was to hire a professional that could increase the number of possible combinations in cards. Moreover, he was approached by a priest from Pennsylvania, concerned about people’s lack of participation in church services and the financial difficulties that the church was encountering. After buying some sets of cards from the entrepreneur, the priest proceeded to use them at the gatherings in his church. Soon, there appeared to be another problem that made him ponder: the large number of winners that the game was producing, a thing that made the game less competitive and led to people’s lack of interest. So, in order to develop new combinations with non-repetitive groups of cards that would make the game much more interesting, he turned to a qualified math teacher. His initiative was a successful one, as the hired professional was able to come up with 6,000 different cards, increasing not only the difficulty of the game, but also its amusement.
Bingo in today’s world
Nowadays, Bingo has become widely known and appreciated. With millions of players that engage in this form of entertainment, the game has been taken to another level. That being said, instead of bingo halls, that undoubtedly brought a sense of closeness and familiarity, we’ve welcomed online bingo sites, a more comfortable alternative. We now rely on a generator that produces random numbers while we enjoy the coziness of our homes and, in addition to this, we can engage in online chatting, which provides a deeper interaction with the other players.
There are mainly four types of bingo and the patters that the players aim to achieve have different levels of difficulty: 75, 90, 30 and 80 balls, with 30 balls being the quickest one and 90 balls being played in three stages (one or two lines and full house), which gives it a higher level of difficulty. To make it easier for the players, optional features are included, among which we can find auto-daub, a feature that highlights the numbers on cards immediately after they have been called. And to make it more engaging, chat moderators encourage players to communicate and share their experiences, using specific acronyms to congratulate each other, thus keeping a more friendly atmosphere. Of course, it is crucial for any site to have enough players so that they can play a well-sized game, while talking on the chat and enjoying themselves.
Where will bingo go next?
The bingo market is rapidly growing in size, offering players a wide range of possibilities they can choose from. With mobile bingo expanding more and more over the last few years, revenues have seen a strong growth. However, people are still reserved about using it, merely because of its lack of social engagement, chat functions being difficult to integrate. But let us not forget that technology has always developed at a fast pace, forever keeping us on our toes, waiting for the next big change that will improve our existence.