Bingo is a fun and relaxing game of chance enjoyed world wide. What few people know is that when they log in to enjoy a few rounds of online bingo, they are actually participating in a tradition that goes back to 14th century Italy. The oldest known text where the game of bingo is mentioned is “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” which means “The Rules of the Italian Lottery”.
Even though we have no evidence of the name bingo being used for a game of chance prior to the 14th century, there are evidence of a game – very similar to modern day bingo – being played at important market days and other gatherings during the European medieval period even before the 14th century. This game was offered by traveling groups that would visit places where large numbers of peopled gathered for trade and festivities. A caller would draw numbers and call them out, and the players would mark the called-out number on their bingo tickets.
Back then, bingo wasn’t played with disposable paper tickets. Instead, the bingo tickets were made from wood or leather and could be used over and over again. Instead of marking a number with a pen or similar (thereby destroying the bingo ticket) the player would put a removable marker on it, e.g. a pebble or a bean.
From Europe, the game of bingo eventually spread to other parts of the world. When archaeologist John Lloyd Stephens traveled through Mexico in the late 1830s, the came upon a game known as “La Lotteria”. Players would use a large sheet where numbers from 1 to 90 were lined up in rows of five. A designated caller would draw numbers out of a sack and call them out. When a number was called out, players would mark the number on their playing sheet by placing a grain of corn on top of it. Sounds familiar, right?
The 1800s was also the era when bingo made it into the school rooms. In Germany, teachers began using modified versions of bingo to help teach their pupils spelling, animal names, etc. This practice is still common today, and not just in Germany.
Playing bingo online
Online bingo is a very popular game. Millions of people enjoy bingo online. There is a large number of different bingo rooms that you can choose to play in. There are even websites that review bingo sites and their games to make it easier for you to find the best bingo room to play in. Click here to visit one such site. The link provided is only one example of a bingo site. There are thousand others to choose from if you do not like that one.
Even though it would take until the mid 2000s before bingo really caught on online, bingo actually began to appear on the internet as early as the 1990s. One of the pioneers when it comes to online bingo was Boston-based nincCO who launched their Bingo Zone site as early as 1996. At Bingo Zone, one could play bingo for free since the prizes were paid for by advertisers.
Another trailblazer was Gamesville.com. Launched in 1996, Gamesville managed to attract so called non-typical bingo players to compete for the free prizes offered up by sponsors. While offline bingo was, at this point in history, chiefly seen as a hobby for little blue-haired church ladies, Gamesville got the men and the young adults to start playing. In 1997, over 40 percent of the bingo players at Gamesville were men. Also, the average age for a Gamesville bingo player was a mere 32 years.
Today, online bingo sites offer real-money bingo where you deposit money into a gambling account and use it to purchase bingo tickets. There is a wide range of bingo types available, from traditional 5 x 5 bingo with 90 balls to variant bingo, pattern bingo, British 75-ball bingo, Scandinavian 4 x 4 80-ball bingo, and the super-fast 3 x 3 30 ball bingo. Some bingo games even have a progressive jackpot attached to them.