You’re probably familiar with the concept of bingo: marking off numbers on a card (or cards) in the hope of winning a cash prize!
But have you ever wondered where it all started? In this blog post, we’re going to give you a whistle-stop tour of the history of bingo, from its origins in Italy back in the 1500s to present-day online bingo and Slingo games.
Read on to find out more!
Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia
The origins of bingo can be traced back to 1530s Italy, where a game called ‘Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia’ was becoming increasingly popular. The name of the game translated roughly to ‘the clearance of the lot of Italy’, and it had some similarities to the National Lottery that we play today. In fact, ‘Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia is still played in Italy every Saturday, where players compete to win cash prizes!
In the original game players were given cards divided into squares, and the host would draw the numbers from a bag.
The First Bingo Card
Games that were similar to the Italian version of bingo continued to be popular around the world, but it wasn’t until 1929 that the first modern bingo card was invented. The story goes that New York toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe was visiting a carnival and played a game called Beano, which involved a caller drawing numbered balls from a cigar box and players using dried beans to cover up numbers written on their cards.
After returning home, Lowe decided to print bingo cards and increase the number of possible combinations. He even hired Columbia University maths professor Carl Leffler to help him create over 6,000 different bingo cards, which were designed to have fewer repeating number groups and conflicts when more than one person got Bingo at the same time.
Although it may not seem like an obvious pairing, bingo was – and in some cases still is – played in churches in both the US and the UK. This evolution came about when a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania asked Lowe if it would be possible to use bingo as a way to raise money for the church.
By 1934 an estimated 10,000 bingo games were being played weekly in America, and the game continued to increase in popularity.
Even today some churches in the UK still host bingo events as a means of fundraising, although there are certain rules in place to moderate these events – such as a maximum prize pot of £600, for example.
As the popularity of bingo increased, it was introduced at casinos all around the world. Edwin Lowe, the creator of bingo as we know it, even built a casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip called the Tallyho inn where players could enjoy in-person bingo games in the glitzy surroundings of Vegas.
Today more than $90 million dollars are spent on bingo each week in North America alone, making it one of the most popular casino games ever!
In recent years, advances in technology have brought bingo to a whole new online audience. It’s thought that Cyberbingo.com, which was established back in 1996, was the first ever online bingo site!
The online version of the game enjoyed a gradual rise in popularity, but it wasn’t until 2003 that online bingo burst onto the mainstream as more and more people were able to access the internet. Around this time lots of different online bingo sites were created, giving players new and exciting ways to play.
Last but certainly not least are our very own bingo-inspired Slingo games. Slingo was invented when New Jersey businessman Sal Faligicia combined the five-reel slot machine with the five columns on a bingo card to create an exciting new game: slots + bingo = Slingo!
The game launched on AOL back in 1996 and proved itself an instant hit. Slingo.com went live in 2002 and has been loved by players ever since!
Today there are a huge variety of original Slingo games and collaborations to choose from, including Slingo Rainbow Riches, Slingo Starburst and more!
Play bingo at Slingo.com
Where better to play bingo and Slingo games than at Slingo.com, the official home of Slingo? Join us now for an amazing gaming experience in a safe, secure environment that puts you first. Ready to play? Let’s Slingo!