If you’re interested, bingo has a fascinating history. What’s more, it comes from a far more illustrious place than you may think. Read more or click here to play today.
Although gambling with numbers has existed since the dawn of time in some form or another, bingo, as we know it today, was born out of the Renaissance in 16th century Italy. Historians pinpoint the exact date at around 1530, the same year Henry VIII fell out with the Pope.
Initially, it wasn’t called “bingo”. It was called “il gioco”, which simply means “the game”. It may have been a creative artistic and literary renaissance, but they clearly didn’t spend too long naming “il gioco”.
Anyway, it proved so popular that Italy couldn’t contain it within its borders, and in order to undergo its primary and most important change, it needed to cross the Atlantic.
Re-named and re-branded
When “the game” first hit America, it was known actually called “beano”. The name “bingo” was born out on a fateful day at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia in 1929.
The story goes that someone excitedly yelled “bingo” instead of “beano” when they’d discovered they’d won. The rest, as they say, is history.
Back across the Atlantic
More changes were waiting to happen though. Although the Americans can claim to have invented the name, here in the UK we can be proud of our own very British input. Worried that the game could possibly be won without strict fair play when calling the numbers, the British version always made sure that they were drawn using a machine.
So, alongside the jet engine, the world wide web and the telephone, the Random Number Generator stands proudly alongside our greatest contributions to the world.
A change for convenience
Bingo had to wait until the 1990s until the next radical change happened, and as changes go, it was monumental. Bingo faced a crossroads when the internet started sweeping up our leisure pursuits, and many fans were worried it would not make the transition to the digital age.
However, bingo is a huge online success and despite the fact that we can use a computer chip instead of a traditional bingo-caller, we can now play wherever and whenever we want. Whether you’re in the dentist’s queue, an airport departure lounge, crammed on the tube, or under a blanket on the sofa, you can pass many happy hours playing bingo on your mobile device.
Only time will tell what the future holds for bingo and what other interesting twists and turns its path will take. Who would have thought that a 16th Italian game would cross the Atlantic twice to become a global phenomenon? What is certain is that it will remain a popular game for all age-groups and will probably continue to make a lot of people a lot of money.
With its cosmopolitan history and simple rules, bingo has proved to be a timeless game and is still used in schools to help children with cognitive learning. What’s more, it’s a brilliant way to learn foreign languages too, and you don’t even have to play with numbers.
Just draw up a list of any words in any language, and play with your friends that way. It’s a guaranteed way of learning and having fun!