Let’s start at the beginning and look at the history of bingo and how it came to be. With a 500-year history, bingo is one of the oldest forms of modern gambling. The game is said to have started in Italy, then spread to France and the United Kingdom. When it initially started, it was more like a lottery game than the one we all know and love now. The game did not begin to develop and resemble the game we know today until it was played in France. By the 18th century, it had become a tremendously popular game in Britain, with players from all over the country taking part. It wasn’t given the name “Bingo” until the early 1900s when it arrived in the United States.
Surprisingly, it grew in popularity throughout the war, owing to a lack of other options for passing the time. Then came the internet era and in the 1990s, everything was going digital, and bingo was no exception. Cyber Bingo was the first online bingo website in 1996. It took a long time for it to take off. In 2013, the game took another significant stride forward when it entered the mobile gaming business. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Whether you are new to the game of bingo or are a seasoned pro, I’m sure there will be at least one or two facts on this list that you never knew. So, without further ado, let’s get cracking.
Fact 1: Bingo is a popular pastime among celebrities. Catherine Zeta-Jones owed her career to bingo when her father won enough money to send her to drama school; in his music video for Feel, Robbie Williams went to his local bingo club in Stoke and played bingo with Daryl Hannah. Other prominent lovers include Denise Van Outen and Scott Mills, and Her Majesty the Queen, who reportedly prefers the term “Palace” over “house”!
Fact 2: Edwin S Lowe, a New York toy salesman, popularised bingo after discovering it being played at a fair in Jacksonville, Georgia, in December 1929. The pitchman told Lowe that he had seen the game being played at fairs in Germany. When Lowe got home, he replayed the game for his pals. After witnessing how popular it became, he decided to make it into a boxed game called ‘Beano.’ The name change is thought to have occurred due to a player getting so thrilled while playing that she exclaimed, “bingo!” At the same time, in the United Kingdom, a similar game known as ‘Housey-Housey’ was being played, which later became known as bingo.
Fact 3: Every day, over half of all bingo players play the game. Regular bingo players spend 48 per cent of their time playing a brief game every day, making it a part of their daily routine. It’s as common as brushing your teeth or doing the dishes for many individuals.
Fact 4: In Scotland, bingo is more popular than in the rest of the United Kingdom. There must be something in the water up there because bingo is played by one in every five Scots. When you compare this to the South of England, where just one in every twenty individuals participates in sports, it’s enough to make anyone want to relocate to the north!
Fact 5: Bingo is both educational and entertaining! Who’d have guessed that the game we all enjoy isn’t simply for fun? It was first employed to help German kids learn their times tables in the 1800s. It has since been used in various educational settings.
Fact 6: Christine Bradfield, a grandmother from Bargoed in Caerphilly County, is thought to be the greatest bingo prize winner, having won almost £1.1 million at The Castle Club in Merthyr Tydfil.
Fact 7: Bingo cards in the United States are different from those in the United Kingdom. American bingo cards have 5×5 squares. A bingo card in the United Kingdom comprises three rows and nine columns. The numbers on American bingo cards range from 1 to 75. Bingo cards in the United Kingdom include numbers going from 1 to 90.
Fact 8: People play bingo more for the fun of it than for the chance to earn money. According to a poll, winning is only the fifth most important factor for individuals who play bingo daily.
Fact 9: According to statistics, a person named Margaret has a better probability of winning a bingo game than someone with a different name.
Fact 10: The biggest number of persons to participate in a giant bingo game was 70,080. According to Guinness World Records, the event took place in December 2006 in Bogota, Colombia.
Finally, though many of us like to play our favourite game on the couch, there have been a few instances where people have played a game under more extreme circumstances. According to The Weston Mercury, in 2009, Weston resident Peter Hughes organised a game at the summit of Mount Everest as part of a charity initiative. Unsurprisingly, he also set a record for the highest game of bingo during the accomplishment. So, if you want to join Peter or your name is Margaret, there are plenty of reasons to give bingo a go.