The Early Days of Bingo

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The names Desperate Dan, Roy of the Rovers, The Bash Street Kids and Rodger the Dodger, will invariably have all the “oldies” smiling wryly and coming-over all glassy-eyed as they recall reading that wonderful comic the Beano. How many daft Beano addicts had vast collections of comics all neatly numbered and safely stashed in their cupboards? Millions, that’s for sure. And how many remember breathlessly ripping wrapping paper from their latest Beano annual every Christmas?

But there was actually a game called Beano played in tents at carnivals in America, early in the 1920’s. It was a derivation of the game Lotto which was popular in Germany around that time. But it was soon to become an international craze that swept the world in what we now know as the exciting gambling game BINGO!

Beano, 1920s±, Milton Bradley

In 1929, an American, Ed Lowe, couldn’t get a seat to play the game Beano (played with numbered cards and dry beans) at a carnival in Jacksonville, it was so popular. He loved the game so much that when he returned to New York he made his own numbered cards, bought a bag of dried beans and invited some of his friends to play along while he called out the numbers. During one exciting finale, a female friend needed only one number to win. When Lowe called out her final number, she jumped up and in a confused excitement shouted out, B-B-B-BINGO! instead of Beano. Lowe loved the name so much he called the game Bingo from then on. Soon, everyone was playing Bingo.

Later, Lowe hired a mathematician to devise a more complicated method of numbering the bingo cards so as to make the game work on a larger scale. This was finally completed and 6,000 new numbered cards were printed. By the mid-1930’s, Ed Lowe employed around 1,000 employees to manage and run Bingo games throughout the city and it’s estimated that every week in New York there were at least 10,000 games of Bingo being called. The biggest single game was held in New York’s Teaneck Armory where an incredible 60,000 players sat shoulder to shoulder hoping to win one of ten automobiles. And what’s more, another 10,000 were turned away!

Of course, today most of us are avid online junkies – even the “oldies”… so, why not see what all the fuss is about and sign up for Bingo Online! Get the BINGO rush… after all the game has been played for over eighty years. B-B-B-BINGO!