History of Bingo

Ever wanted to know how bingo became bingo? Here's a small potted history of the game. Follow the selected links for a more in depth analysis of the history of bingo.

Bingo is defined as "a game of chance in which each player has one or more cards printed with differently numbered squares on which to place markers when the respective numbers are drawn and announced by a caller. The first player to mark a complete row of numbers is the winner" (Dictionary.com).

But where did bingo originate from?

If you've searched the web looking for the history of Bingo you'll find that most sites will tell you the same story (most probably derived from online extract taken from "Gambling Times Guide to Bingo" by Roger Snowden).

In brief, as it seems churlish to repeat the same story word for word, the game was derived from Lo Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia back in 1530! The game bingo more closely resembles the French game Le Lotto - reported to be being played in 1778 - and this was developed into an educational style game.

The term bingo did not arrive until the interruption of Edwin S. Lowe - who after playing a Lotto game called Beano at a carnival introduced it to his friends, one of whom uttered the immortal words 'Bingo' (instead of Beano) and from there a game was born. The game developed thanks to Lowe and an insane professor who helped developed the bingo cards, therefore allowing multi player games.

Bingo has come a long way since Lowe's Beano days - most certainly in the new technological era with online bingo and interlinked bingo halls (apparently more people go to bingo than the cinema each week in the UK) offering huge cash prize jackpots.

The history of online bingo has been quite dramatic. Players can now enjoy 75 ball and 90 ball games online as well as variations on the theme such as roulette, bubble bingo, 30 ball bingo, speed bingo, Deal or No Deal bingo and even poker related bingo!

Mini History of Online Bingo

1996: Cyberbingo.com is launched and is the first online bingo site
2003: Online bingo starts to take off in the UK. Prize Bingo launches.
2004: Think Bingo launched in August 2004 and claims to be the first UK standalone!
2005: Foxy Bingo arrives on the scene
2008: Wink Bingo launches
2009: Cheeky Bingo opens first free bingo for real cash site. Costa Bingo soon follows
2010: Party & Cashcade join together as do 888 and Wink owner's Daub!
2011: A Facebook App becomes a Bingo Site in the shape of Wonder Bingo!
2013: 15 Network is launched. It's finally the year of mobile!
2016: Sun Bingo leaves moves to Virtue Fusion
2017: Foxy Bingo ends affiliate relationships

The Future of Bingo

Bingo continues to develop as a game and pastime. There are now Facebook Bingo games and social media has become a powerful communication tool for bingo brands interacting with their customers. The introduction of live bingo callers has taken the game a step closer to it's bingo hall roots whilst mobile bingo is expected to be the "next big thing". Whether that's the case remains to be seen.

One medium that bingo has failed to crack is television! Whilst bingo adverts and TV show sponsorship's are popular, the online TV bingo game has failed to grab the attention of audiences.

However, all is not too rosey for online bingo! With more and more online bingo sites but a limited number of interested players there has to be a tipping point. Many bingo pundits believe that online bingo, at least in The UK, is at saturation point. Unless the gambling laws in The US change then it may well be that online bingo is currently at the top of it's game and that the only way is down.

Useful Links
History of Bingo
About.com

Loquax's Guide to Bingo

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