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The History and Evolution of Bingo

Jul 24, 2008
There isn't a single game more universally recognizable than bingo. The distinctive playing card and numbered balls are familiar around the world. In fact, bingo is so popular that it's played in places like schools and churches. Few other games are thought of as benign enough to enjoy popularity with every age group and at any social gathering.

The predecessors of modern bingo have been played for hundreds of years. In Italy and France, early forms of bingo originated in the mid-16th century. Bingo as we know it today was devised by an American business man who saw the perfect opportunity to create a whole new brand of fun.

Edwin Lowe, a toy salesman from New York, visited a carnival in the 1920s and saw an eye-catching new game. People were playing a game called Beano, which consisted of numbered cards, numbered disks which were drawn randomly from a box, and dried beans to mark the called numbers on the cards.

Lowe was impressed by the enthusiasm the players had for the game. The beano tent was full of players, and they seemed almost hypnotized for hours on end. When a player accidentally shouted "Bingo!" instead of "Beano," Lowe saw a golden opportunity and began devising his own version of the game.

Edwin Lowe hired a mathematics professor to help him expand the number of unique game cards for his bingo game. There were originally only 24 unique cards, but Lowe's partner devised over 6000 unique cards. Once Lowe had improved the game, he began spreading it to churches around the United States for their game nights. Soon, no church fundraiser was complete without a game of bingo.

Imitators began cropping up all over the place almost immediately. Lowe didn't fight his competitors; instead, he asked for a dollar a year from each of them and asked them to call their games "bingo." As a result, hundreds of different types of bingo can now be found.

Today, bingo has moved into the high-tech sector. Online bingo is hugely popular in just about every corner of the world. While real-life bingo is still played in church basements, schools, and bingo halls, the online version of the game has a lot of appeal for players.

Online free bingo games are loved by the younger and more technologically savvy generation of players. A lot of players enjoy being able to play from home without having to get dressed up and deal with crowds. Others just like the fact that they can play any time of the day or night with other players from distant places.

Many free bingo sites offer prizes for bingo wins. Winning a prize or some cash is a great bonus for playing this fun game, especially when you pay nothing to play. Some sites even offer cash bonuses just for signing up. There's nothing better than playing a game you enjoy and getting paid to do it!

Bingo has experienced some dramatic changes since it was created by that New York salesman so long ago. But the game is still fun and easy to play, and it's still enjoyed by people of every age group. Today's online bingo is a great way to spend your free time and maybe even make some extra cash.
About the Author
Paul Edison invites you to read a review of Mecca Bingo at Bingo Bingo.
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