Just Say Bingo!
The game of Bingo is today the most popular game of chance in the world. Millions of people play regular Bingo games in locations all over the world taking place every single day! The largest single promoters of Bingo are religious faiths. This is especially ironic, because starting from the earliest Bingo-like games in the sixteenth century, it was always the conservative religious establishment who tried to block the games. Yet today, it is apparent that Bingo is such a popular money maker that many non-profit institutions use Bingo to raise money.
Bingo is from Italy
People first started playing a game similar to Bingo in Italy in the Sixteen Century. In the game called "Lo Giuoco del Lotto," players used numbered cards and listened to a caller read numbers drawn from a large cloth sack. If a player had the number called on his card, he would place a small rock over the box that had that number. If a player filled a whole row with rocks, he would win the round. The game was played every week and has continued almost without a break during the last 500 years. The reason is simple, people love to play, and the game raises considerable money for the Italian government.
Bingo Crosses the Atlantic
In the early twentieth century, the game was being played in America. It was called Beano because: A) Players used beans instead of rocks to cover up the numbered squares that had been called, and B) No one knew what "Lo Giuoco del Lotto" meant. The game was mostly played at traveling carnivals where winners would win nothing more than a kewpie doll.
Beano Becomes Bingo
Any time a player had a complete row, they were supposed to jump up and yell "Beano!" That way the round would end and the player would get a prize. So one night, a woman was so excited that she couldn't remember what she was supposed to yell. She stood up at a carnival in Georgia and for a second was speechless. Then, with everyone looking at her, she managed to get out the only word she could think of. She yelled the word "Bingo."
Next Time You Say "Bingo" Think About….
What is really strange is that the word 'Bingo" means absolutely nothing. It is pure gibberish. It doesn't even sound like the word "Beano." Yet this woman, whose name has been lost to the history books, gave a name to a game that is today played by millions. On average, someone shouts the word "Bingo" every three seconds somewhere in the world. Amazing, it all traces back to this woman's mumble.
The Game Maker Who Heard
How did the word Bingo became famous? Well, there happened to be a guy who had started his own toy company who watched the game in Georgia and heard the winner's cry of "Bingo." He knew he had a hit on his hands. He quickly designed the new game "Bingo" and started selling it from his offices in New York. Before he could yell "Bingo", he was selling thousands of games to an eager public.
He even had to hire a Columbia University math professor to devise more cards where the numbers would be arranged differently so that there would only be one winner each time. The Professor, a guy named Carl Leffler invented 6,000 different bingo cards, and then (according to legend) went insane.
Real Money Bingo for Heaven
A Catholic priest from Pennsylvania approached Lowe about using bingo as a means of raising church funds. Right from the start, bingo was popular at weekly Church games. By 1934, an estimated 10,000 bingo games were played weekly, and today more than 100,000 weekly games take place where players spend more than $90 million dollars every single week.