Bingo is a card game of chance played with randomly drawn numbers which players match against numbers that have been pre-printed on 55 matrices. The matrices can be printed on paper, card stock or electronically represented and are referred to as cards. Many versions conclude the game when the first person achieves a specified pattern from the drawn numbers. The winner is usually required to call out the word Bingo!, which alerts the other players and caller of a possible win. All wins are checked for accuracy before the win is officially confirmed at which time the prize is secured and a new game is begun. In this version of bingo, players compete against one another for the prize or jackpot.
In the United States, the game bingo was from the very beginning called beano. This was a country fair game where a dealer selected numbered discs from a cigar box and players marked their cards with beans. They cried beano if they won.
The games history can go back to 1530, to an Italian lottery called Lo Giuoco del Lotto DItalia, which is still played every Saturday in some regions of Italy. From Italy the game expanded to France in the late 1770s, where it had name Le Lotto, a game played among wealthy Frenchmen. The Germans also played a version of the game in the 1800s, but they played it as a kids game to encourage students learn math, spelling & history.
When the game came to North America in 1929, it was known as beano. The game was first played at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. New York salesman Edwin S. Lowe gave it another name bingo. He noticed that someone accidentally yelled bingo instead of beano. He hired a Columbia University math professor, Carl Leffler, to help him increase the number of combinations in cards. By 1930, Leffler had introduced 6,000 different bingo cards.
A Catholic priest from Pennsylvania cooperated with Lowe by using bingo as a means of raising church funds. When bingo started being played in churches it became more and more popular. By 1934, an estimated 10,000 bingo games were played every week, and today more than $90 million dollars are spent on bingo each week only in North America.
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