By examining the history of Bingo, players may be able to more accurately understand the subtle nuances of the game and, in some cases, even enjoy and appreciate it a little more. In the United States, Bingo was originally referred to as "Beano". Beano was played at carnivals and fairs, where dealers would call numbers after selecting individualized and numbered discs from a cigar box. Players had cards in front of them. If the caller yelled out a number that was on the player's card, they would mark off their numbers with a bean. Winners would yell out "Beano!" if they succeeded in replicating the desired and winning pattern, which was more often than not a single line one the card.
It was not until 1929 that the game, still known as Beano, was introduced to North America. While the game was first played at a carnival near the city of Atlanta, a city located in the state of Georgia, it would eventually go on to be a nationwide, and worldwide, success. The name of the game Beano was changed to be called Bingo after a New York salesman, Edwin S. Lowe, heard a person accidentally yell out "Bingo!" when they won, instead of the intended "Beano!". Lowe worked with the game and tried to perfect it as a marketable product.
A Catholic priest from Pennsylvania came forward to approach Lowe about utilizing Bingo to raise funds for the church. It began after the priest had purchased a number of Lowe's $2.00 Bingo game. Problems began to develop when each of the games produced a number of winners, as many as half a dozen or more in some instances. Bingo money was not being raised for the church very effectively. It was at this time that Lowe hired an individual to help him with the cards. Lowe specifically hired a math professor from Columbia University, Carl Leffler, in order to help him to increase the number of combinations available on the bingo game cards. While it is said that while Leffler later went insane due to the task, he was able to come up with 6,000 different and individual bingo game playing cards.
As Bingo became played in more churches around the country as a way to raise money for the religious establishments, it increased in popularity. In 1934, it was estimated that 10,000 games of Bingo were being played weekly. Today, it is estimated that in North America alone, more than $90 million is being spent on Bingo each and every week.
However, the template of the Bingo game itself can be traced back farther, all the way to 1530. It was in this year that the Italian lottery, Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia, took place and set up the basic premise for the game of Bingo. This lottery game is still played in Italy every Saturday. Later, in 1770, the Italian game was introduced to France. In France, the game was referred to as "Le Lotto". Le Lotto was played primarily by wealthy Frenchmen. In Le Lotto, the playing cards were designed in order to express three horizontal and nine vertical rows. Each of the three horizontal rows featured five numbered squares and four blank squares. Vertical rows were categorized so that the first contained numbers between one and ten, the second contained numbers between eleven and twenty, the third contained numbers between twenty one to thirty and so on, until the ninth row, which contains numbers between eighty one and ninety. The highest number available was ninety.
The game was adopted by residents of Germany in the 1800's, although it was altered into a different version. However, the game was used in order to educate children when it comes to such topics of math, spelling and history. In the 1850's, German Lotto players developed a new version of the game. This time, the game was created and designed in order to teach children their multiplication tables. Additional Lotto games include Spelling Lotto, Animal Lotto and Historical Lotto.