Bingo is a game which has evolved progressively to become a socializing past time in several parts of the world. Widely considered as a game to be played on Sundays, Bingo can be used as a form of weekend relaxation and also as a means of making new friends. Another more lucrative online version featuring more grids and models has however been developed. How did this come to be? What are the origins of this game which has existed for such a long time?

Origins which reach far back in time

Historians can attest to the fact that Bingo existed in various parts of the world during ancient times. Similar games were played in India, China, the Iberian Peninsula and in Italy the seat of the most important empire which ever existed: The Roman Empire. Perfectly preserved relics discovered in the environs of the ancient city show the game may have been played in the region right up to the 14th century when it was called Lo Giuco De Lotto and then Beano later on.

The Post-Renaissance Era

Bingo became popular in France two centuries later. Although the game had mainly been played by members of the Italian merchant and peasant classes, it became popular among the French nobles and bourgeoisie. In Germany it was used to educate rather than entertain particularly in enabling children learn about French culture and mathematics. The Spanish also discovered the game which was played in churches as a means of raising funds during the migration to Mexico and surroundings areas.

The American expansion

By 1929, Beano had finally found its way to the United States via Atlanta, growing in importance to become a social phenomenon. On its arrival at New York it attracted the attention of games maker Edwin S. Lowe, who attempted to modernize and market it. Giving it its current name, Bingo, he also enlisted the aid of Carl Leffler, a Mathematics lecturer at the University of Colombia to increase the number of combinations on the grids. The academic also created close to 6 000 different grid layouts. He is rumoured to have succumbed to insanity following his achievements.

A virtual retranscription

From around 2000, Bingo began to make an appearance in online game rooms. This new digital version providing the opportunity to win significant sums became extremely popular in the United States and Europe. Virtual Bingo provides a large number of grids, models and themes. The emergence of the virtual game has been responsible for a proliferation of new variations of the game: 75 Ball Bingo, 30 Ball Bingo...