Historians can trace modern bingo back to 1530. At that time, an Italian lottery called Lo Giucco del Lotto D’Italia was popular, and people still play this game every Saturday in Italy . Wealthy French citizens had a similar game they enjoyed in the late 1770s, and the Germans used something like bingo to teach students math, spelling, and history. Bingo did not reach the U.S. until 1929.
Originally called Beano, a county fair in Georgia was the first location to host the U.S. version of the game. To play, a dealer would select numbered discs from a cigar box while players marked cards with beans. The winner would yell “Beano!” When toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe heard someone say Bingo instead, he changed the name and worked with a math professor named Carl Leffler to increase the combinations on bingo cards. In fact, Leffler produced an estimated 6000 cards by 1930.
Seeing a good opportunity, a Catholic priest spoke with Lowe about using bingo to raise money for church expenses. Once churches began hosting bingo games, bingo really took off in the U.S. Even today, weekly bingo games still draw large crowds. Casinos in Nevada and on Native American reservations host commercial bingo games.
In recent years, gaming institutions developed online bingo. One early online pioneer, Uproar, launched Bingo Blitz in 1998. Since then, online bingo has generated millions of dollars, and experts forecast the industry to hit $1 billion at the end of 2010. Where regular bingo uses actual balls that an official caller draws, online bingo uses a random number generating program to select numbers. For some online bingo games, users must download free software in order to play. Whether you want to play online or at a bingo hall, you can find a place where you can enjoy the game.