While lotto-style games with numbers have existed across the globe for centuries, bingo originated in Italy in the form of the game ‘Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia'. Similarly, the Italians can double down on being the answer to the question ‘What country did bingo originate from?’ because they also came up with the Bingo-adjacent game Tombola too.
While its origins may have started in Italy, Bingo has had a long history in locations around the globe, with each nation adding its own flair or design elements to suit the interests of its people. Interestingly, Bingo was introduced to different countries during different periods, for example Germany was introduced to Bingo in the 1880s, while the US had to wait until the 20s, and the UK even linger as it wasn’t until the 1960s that Bingo started to take off in old blighty. Factors such as these have a fascinating impact on how the game is viewed by residents, for example, in the UK Bingo has a long history of being a ‘game for grannies’ due to the fact it had its boom in the 60s when the youth of today’s grandparents were young and hip.
Put simply, Bingo is a truly fascinating game that is not only played across the globe but is able to transform like a chameleon to suit the needs of specific cultures. Join us in today’s article as we reveal what Bingo looks like across the globe.
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Do Other Countries Play Bingo?
Yes! Bingo is very much an international celebrity and is played over many continents, with each location adding its own name, theme, rules, and more. We’ve highlighted some of the most prolific Bingo-playing nations below so you can discover the fascinating similarities and differences between games.
The majority of gambling is prohibited in Japan due to extremely severe gambling laws; the few exceptions being lotteries, sports betting, and pachinko. As a result of the nation's recent shift in attitude towards gambling, casino resorts are now acknowledged there. However, because of the still strict regulations governing it, Japanese gamers primarily play online rather than in arcades or on physical media. Almost half a million people participated in the largest online bingo game ever, which took place in Japan. The 75-ball version of the game is particularly popular in Japan.
Japan have gone one step further with their love for Bingo and has created a popular lottery game. In the lottery game Bingo5, participants must select eight numbers that are placed in a 3 by 3 grid with a vacant space in the centre. Players check their tickets against the stated numbers each week to discover if they have won!
Players must cross off the number they want to choose in each square when they purchase a ticket because there are five possible numbers for each square on the grid. Bingo5 payouts are dependent on how many lines you match, as opposed to the UK lottery where winning levels are based on matching a greater number of numbers.
Given how many British people moved to Australia following World War II, it is obvious that Australian and British cultures are very similar. Interestingly enough, the Housie bingo variant played in Australia is modelled after the popular 75-ball bingo in the United States!
With a few tweaks, housie is nearly exactly like 75-ball bingo. First of all, it can be challenging to get a queue or a full house because there isn't always an empty spot in the middle. Additionally, the letters B, I, N, G, and O are used to denote the column that the number is in rather than merely calling out the number. The name of the variant comes from Australian players who yell "housie" after finishing a ticket!
The traditional hall became a significant trend after the game made its way to the UK probably in the 1960s. The UK is regarded as one of the nations with the most gaming fervour in the world due to the game's immense popularity there. Some of the jargon that accompanied the game is one of the best trends to emerge in the UK. In a traditional 90-ball game, the caller reads out the numbers from 1 to 90 as they are drawn. However, as the game's vocabulary evolved, the caller would now say "two fat ladies, 88" rather than just calling "88."
Since the game has been played in the United States since the 1920s, America prides itself on being the "modern home" of the game. The game was genuinely patented after making appearances at carnivals in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Several iterations of the game were produced and distributed in the 1930s and 1940s. Churches frequently used the game's popularity and structure to raise money for their operations, and charities also found it to be a helpful way to raise money. Like Germany, America has previously taught youngsters spelling, animal names, times tables, and even historical events through the use of a Bingo-style format.
Russian bingo, sometimes known as lotto, is a traditional take on the Italian tombola or the typical American bingo. Numbered cards and little barrels with numbers are needed for the game, which requires a minimum of two players. The presenter selects the barrels at random from a bag, calling out each barrel's number one by one.
The earliest known version of the game is credited to Italy. The original version dates back to the 16th century and was a game called "Gioco del Lotto." Italy still enjoys playing this game, with the 90-ball version being the most played variation there. More than 300 official halls can be found all around Italy, and the country's younger population is growing more and more accustomed to playing it at local halls. Moreover, since it became legal in Italy in 2007, internet bingo has flourished, making the game more well-liked than ever and showing no signs of abating.
With the game's introduction to the nation in the 1880s, bingo and Germany share a long history together. Since then, the game has evolved into a variant akin to that played in the United Kingdom. In Germany, the game was originally known as "der Lottospiel," and players would exclaim "volltreffer!" when they won rather than "bingo." In addition to being a well-liked and enjoyable game to play with friends and family, Germany also employed it as a teaching tool in their schools. This caused its popularity to soar across all age groups and as a learning tool in other nations as well.
A summary of the different Bingo variants seen across the globe can be found below:
90-Ball Bingo is the most popular variant played with custom call lingo such as ‘Two Fat Ladies, 88’.
75-Ball Bingo is the most popular variant played. Bingo has also been used as a learning tool in schools and churches.
75-ball Bingo is most popular in Japan and is mostly played online. Japan also has a weekly lottery game called Bingo5.
75-Ball Bingo is most popular in Australia where it is called ‘Housie’ due to players stating this phrase when winning.
Italy has a variant of bingo called Gioco del Lotto which has been played since the 16th century. This is a 90-ball variant which is played in halls across the country. Italy is also the creator of the Bingo-adjacent game called Tombola.
Originally called ‘der Lottospiel’ Bingo has been around in Germany since the 1880’s. 90-ball Bingo is the most popular version played, and Bingo-style games have consistently been used in educational settings.
In Russian Lotto numbers are drawn from a bag, and the bingo cards feature little barrels with the number inside, making this the most different Bingo-varient from the rest of the crowd.
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If Bingo was a person then it would be a worldwide superstar, as, thanks to the popularity of online casinos and online bingo halls as well as relaxing gambling rules, Bingo can be enjoyed on nearly every continent. Since the development of online bingo games, Bingo has been able to shake its pensioner-friendly image and is now enjoyed by players of all ages.
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