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1530 - Italy

The origins of Bingo can be traced back to the year 1530 in which a State run lottery game "Lo Giuco de Lotto" was originated. The game is still held every Saturday in Italy.

1700s - France
The earliest name, "lotto" (or "loto"), a children's game, was first recorded in 1778. "Le Lotto" migrated to France in a form similar to the Bingo we know today, with a playing card, tokens and numbers read aloud.

1800s - Europe
The original American form, called "keno", "kino", or "po-keno", dates from the early 19th century. Throughout the 1800's these lottery type of games spread quickly throughout Europe and many offshoots of the game were created. A Lotto game similar to Bingo was used as an educational tool Germany designed to teach children multiplication tables. One popular form of game had a player's card divided into 3 horizontal rows and 9 vertical ones. The first vertical row contained the numbers from 1 to 10, the second from 11 to 20, and so on until 81-90 on the ninth vertical row. The 3 horizontal rows each contained five squares with numbers in them and 4 blank ones. The caller would then draw from a bag of wooden chips numbered from 1 to 90. The object of the game was to be the first to completely cover one of the 3 horizontal rows. The blank squares were considered free squares much like the free square in the Bingo cards of today.

1900s - Australia
Bingo became popular in Australia early in the 20th Century. It was known as "Housie". Housie was held in large marquees before they moved into halls. It was played on cards: you placed your token on your card when the numbers were called. The winner would call "HOUSE".

1929 - New York - Bingo
Bingo was the only form of gambling permitted in the British armed services. The game was called in the Royal Navy "tombola" (1880) and in the Army, "house" (1900), or "housy-housy". Other American names are "beano", "lucky", "radio", and "fortune". In 1929, "Beano" was played at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. The bingo game's tools consisted of dried beans, a rubber number stamp and some cardboard. A New York toy salesman named Edwin Lowe, observed the game where players exclaimed 'BEANO!' if they filled a line of numbers on their card. Lowe introduced the game to his friends in New York where one of them mistakenly yelled 'BINGO!' in her excitement. Edwin Lowe sought the services of a math professor at Columbia University, Carl Leffler, to expand the amount of number combinations. In 1930, Professor Leffler devised 6,000 bingo cards with non-repeating number groups. It was said that he completed the task successfully, and then went insane. There are 1,474,200 unique Bingo cards possible. "Lowe's Bingo" was soon very popular and Lowe asked competitors to pay him $1 per year to allow them to call their games Bingo as well.

1930 - Height of Popularity
At the height of its popularity during the Great Depression of the 1930s, a variant (often called "screeno") was played in motion-picture theatres, with one night in the week designated bank night, when patrons received free bingo cards with their admission tickets; prizes amounted to hundreds of dollars in cash or merchandise.

1940s - America
By the 1940's Bingo games had sprung up all over America with thousands of games being played every week.

1960 - Great Britain
In Great Britain the game received its greatest impetus when the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 permitted the formation of a large number of commercial lotto clubs. Within a few years, the game achieved a popularity equaling or exceeding that which it had formerly enjoyed in the United States.

Today - The World
Today Bingo games can be found just about anywhere. Bingo has been played enthusiastically in Japan and has even been introduced at the casino in Monte-Carlo.





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