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How Bingo Became A British Cultural Pastime

Safe to say that the world of online bingo, with its huge surge in popularity in recent years, has never looked so exciting! No matter if you’re into classic bingo or more rapid-fire versions of the game designed to be enjoyed in a short period of time, there are more options on offer than ever before!

Directly related to this surge in interest, more and more players are considering the earliest forms of the game as they wonder; just how did bingo become so big?

In this article, we will consider how bingo became a British cultural pastime. From the importance of Italian culture in early bingo to the growth of bingo in the USA, we will provide a look at this most fascinating timeline. Once you have read this, why not consider the history of the bingo hall for an even deeper look into the beloved game.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how bingo became such an integral part of British culture, beginning with the earliest mentions of bingo-style games in history.


The early days of bingo

The very first recorded examples of bingo-like games come from 16th century Italy, to be sure an exciting era in which massive advances were made in everything from the arts, to science, to travel. It makes sense that the era also gave birth to Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia. Often said to be a precursor to the national lottery games played worldwide today, this game proved wildly popular when it was invented more than 500 years ago!

Essentially, the basic premise of Lo Giuoco (The Game) was that individuals were assigned a group of numbers, with each player’s range unique and provided at random. After a quick draw of the digits, those who matched would get a serious jackpot prize. Here we see some real parallels with modern lotteries!

The rise of bingo across the world

After this, lotteries were played by French nobles in the 17th and 18th centuries, before these early precursors to bingo faded into time. It was not until the 1920s that American entrepreneur, Edwin S. Lowe, noticed something called “Beano” being played at a country fair in the USA. It seemed very popular and very simple, with players winning by getting a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line of numbers on a piece of paper marked every time a fresh digit was announced by a caller. Why “Beano”? Well, back then, the numbers were jotted down on beans instead of modern bingo balls!

Quickly, Lowe created a more polished version of the game, and it became hugely popular with private players at dinner parties across the states. It was not until the 1960s that bingo moved over to the UK, where it became a deeply significant and popular cultural pastime. With 90 balls instead of the 75 people played with in the US, British bingo was longer, and players enjoyed using their time at the hall to sip a few drinks and have fun with friends.

Online bingo sites today

Today, many bingo players go to online sites to engage in the fun of this awesome pastime. With huge wins, fresh bingo sites have given some stiff competition to the hall with their endless amount of convenience and excitement, not to mention huge prizes!

Obviously, bingo became a British cultural pastime for these very reasons; with the game one of the most simple, fun, and exciting of any ever created!


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