Bingo's Early Beginnings
Before Bingo became a popular game of luck all over the world and captured the hearts of its millions of followers, it first began in Italy in the 1530s when its ancestor game called "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia" created a frenzy among young and old, alike This popular lottery game, which is still being played in Italy every Saturdays, inspired the inception of "Le Lotto" in France more than two centuries later.
The "Le Lotto" was very popular among Noble Frenchmen that another version of the game reached Germany in the 1800s. The German version of "Le Lotto" was modified to aid children in learning different subjects in school including Math, Spelling and History.
In 1929, the game was introduced in North America. Bingo was, then, referred to as "Beano." Beano was first played at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. Back then, Beano was known as a popular game at country fairs that involved a dealer selecting numbered discs placed inside a box. The earliest markers used by players for their winning numbers are beans. And the lucky winner of the game had to yell "Beano!"
The evolution of Beano can be credited to a popular toy salesman named Edwin S. Lowe. Lowe was on his way to Nashville when he decided to stop by a carnival. He discovered Beano being played by excited people who up to the wee hours of the morning continued to play the game. Though Lowe wanted to take part of it, he failed, as no seats were available for him. When Lowe went back to New York he introduced the game to his friends who liked it instantly.
Lowe's significance to the "Beano" game became evident when he decided to introduce it to the public and gave it a new name, "Bingo." In just a short period of time, the game started to be recognized by the public. Entrepreneurs began to form their own version of Bingo. Lowe allowed the game's new name to be used by these entrepreneurs by just paying him one dollar a year.
Lowe was also credited to the beginning and development of Bingo with the help of a Mathematics professor at Columbia University. Lowe, at that time, was aiming to utilize the potential of the game in fundraising and charity. Thus, with Professor Carl Lefler, Lowe was able to increase the number combinations for the game cards. In the end, they ended up producing 6,000 cards with new combinations. Around 1934, approximately 10,000 bingo games were played every week.