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History of bingo

Bingo is a game that is enjoyed by literally millions of people all across the world and 3.8 million Britons enjoy playing bingo both in bingo halls, but, more increasingly, on-line, too. Although the exact origins of bingo in the UK are shrouded in mystery, Bingo (or 'Housey Housey' as it is sometimes known), is a game that has been played in some form for generations and has always been a favourite for those wishing to get out of the house and socialise, without having to spend a fortune.

Rumour has it, though, that Bingo is of Italian origin, it's grandfather possibly being the Italian Lottery, 'Lo Guioco del Lotto D'Italia'. The game was adapted and altered as it travelled from country to country - in France is was known as 'Le Lotto' and was a favourite of the French aristocracy. We probably wouldn't recognise these games of bingo, but the closest forms of the game we played in 19th century Germany and was used as an educational tool to make learning fun - teaching children to spell, numbers, multiplication tables and even history!

In the US, bingo was played in carnivals, with players in the early games shouting "Beano!" instead of the "Bingo!" we expect today. In 1929, Edwin Lowe visited a carnival in Atlanta and saw a game being played, mesmerised by the draw of the game and the level of involvement and engagement that players had - many of whom would not stop playing until being told to leave at 3am when the carnival closed! Lowe then took the game to New York, where he refined Bingo to use beans, playing boards and numbering stamps. The name of Beano was promptly discarded as soon as one of Lowes excited friends accidental called out 'Bingo!' instead of Beano when he won a game - which remains with us today.

Lowe travelled America to spread the game further and by the 1940s all of the US was rumoured to be enjoying the game. Bingo was known to be easy-going and fun and became a popular small stakes gambling game which was mostly used for fun at home, at charity auctions and other similar events.

The bingo we know in the UK is played with a slightly different structure, with the UK version growing alongside its American counterpart to help it become a more world-wide phenomenon. As technology has advanced, so has bingo, with more and more sophisticated draw machines making way for computerised random number generators - which has helped to keep the game fair. On-line bingo uses random number generators, also, with no human influence in strictly regulated games.

Bingo has grown and grown to become one of the most popular games world-wide and its simple and easy to pick up nature has meant it is well loved by people of all ages. It is widely played for fun among children and adults alike, but the betting aspect is also very popular and jackpots and prizes often reach hundreds, if not thousands of pounds both on-line and in bingo halls. Because of the format of the game, it lends itself easily to the Internet, which has been a major factor in it's huge success even in today's digital age.

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