Depending on which historian you believe, the Egyptians were playing the game of Bingo before the pyramids were actually constructed.

The History Of Bingo


What we know today as Bingo is a form of lottery and called a direct descendant of Lo Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia - the Italian National Lottery that was organized about 1530 and is still going strong. The European game of lotto, which had special playing cards with rows of numbers, had a caller who read numbers out loud. Players would cover the number if it appeared on their cards and the first player to complete a horizontal row was deemed the winner.

A man named Ed Lowe saw a version of the game played in Jacksonville, Ga., in 1929. Players were using beans to cover their numbers. The operator of that game related the history of the game to Lowe who, upon his return to his home in New York, refined the game a bit.

Lowe, who owned a toy company, called the game "Beano," which later evolved into Bingo because of an odd event. One woman playing the game was so excited she yelled out "b-b-bingo" instead of "Beano" when she won. The name stuck.

In 1973, by the way, Lowe sold his company to Milton Bradley for $26 million.

Ever wonder what the largest Bingo game in the nation might be? In 1934 at a Teaneck, NJ armory, 60,000 people showed up to play and l0,000 more had to be turned away.

William Fisk Harrah's father opened a chain of successful Bingo parlors in California in the 1930s. The operation was moved to Reno and became so successful that when the first Harrah's opened in 1946 it was dubbed "The House That Bingo Built."