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The History of Bingo

One of my favorite games at parties is bingo. Naturally, the kiddos and I hone our skills at home in both the traditional version.  Bingo is an international game, estimated to be around 490 years old. Bingo’s popularity slowly dived into decline during the 1990s. In the South, it’s a great community activity–our rotary club hosts Bingo night every Tuesday!

We’ve played it in the car, on a plane, and at various homes across the country. Over the summer, we attended a summer party where Bingo was the key game, and I loved watching my children’s excitement build as the letters and numbers started coming together for them and they were so wanting to holler “BINGO!”

At Halloween, The Divine Miss M’s class played a Halloween version, and it was intense–first graders are quite the competitors! We’ve even implemented Bingo as part of our chore chart from time to time.

I found this History of Bingo site where I learned it originated in Italy around the early 1500s. Okay, so that was more a form of the government’s lottery, but it still gets credit for the inspiration. In America, we owe our allegiance to the game to Beano and a wise man named Ed Lowe and a woman who was so overcome with excitement that instead of shouting “Beano!” she stuttered out “BINGO!” The rest, as they say, is history!

Where Bingo Began

Italy seems to be where Bingo began. Originally as a lottery named Gioco del Lotto d’Italia’, in 1530.

From Italy, the popular Bingo spread to the French aristocracy under the name “le Lotto.”

By 1778 Bingo was popular and an international game.

Britain in the 18th century was played across industrial towns and cities before finding its way to the US.

Where Bingo Got Its Name

Evidence suggests the game was first dubbed ‘Bingo’ in the US, in 1929.

Legend has it that a toy manufacturer from Long Island named Edwin S Lowe, first played the game at a carnival in Georgia, where it had become known as ‘Beano’ due to beans being used to mark numbers.

The History of Bingo is one that truly represents the American Dream. It saved a Parish in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, and has grown into a game played by young and old. It is reflective of my childhood and shared with my children. There are so many variations that it never grows old.

Indeed, some things truly capture our hearts. For me, it’s Bingo!

What game takes you back to being a kiddo?

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