Bingo History

The earliest bingo game was not in the form we play in modern times but still had recognisable features. It was played in Italy in the early 16th Century and dates back to 1530. It was a lottery type game called Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia. It is still played each Saturday by Italians as a State run lottery.

Over 200 years later, in the 1770s, the game found its way to France where the French called it Le Lotto. It was mostly played by the rich and was adapted to include tokens, playing cards as well as numbers. The game soon reached Germany where in the 1800s the Germans used it to teach children mathematics, history and spelling.

From Germany the game reached the United States of America where it was adapted and given the name Beano. It can be traced back to being played in 1929. The earliest recorded play of the bingo game beano was in a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. A dealer from the carnival would take out numbered discs from a cigar box and players would mark off any matched numbers with a bean. If they matched off all their numbers they won and would announce this by shouting Beano!

A toy salesman from New York called Edwin S. Lowe saw the game being played and thought he heard someone call the game bingo rather than beano. The name bingo was born and this was the origins of the game bingo. Other sources state that Edwin S. Lowe copied the beano game at home and played it at a party. One of his guests who was so excited at winning, stuttered, and could not shout out beano and instead shouted b b b bbingo!