National Bingo Day Celebrated On June 27th
The United States takes June 27th each year to celebrate Bingo. It may seem strange that casual casino entertainment deserves an entire day for appreciation, but it should also be taken into account that this is not only one of the oldest games of chance in the world, but also still one of the most popular. Let’s take a closer look at the phenomenon that is Bingo.
In the United States the game is played with a 5x5 grid of numbers, either printed on a physical ticket, or presented as such in digital form. The United Kingdom, Ireland and other parts of the world have slightly different versions. Instead of the grid, a layout of 15 numbers in 3 lines is used. But, regardless of presentation, both versions play by essentially the same rules.
Numbers are called out, matching numbers on tickers are marked off, and bigger prizes are awarded the more numbers matched. It is, of course, the simplicity of the rules that have made the game so popular.
A Long Bingo History
Looking back, the exact origins of Bingo are a little hazy. However, general consensus is that a similar lottery game was first seen in Italy, roughly around 1530. It was called Il Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia, and more or less used the same rules.
Jumping forward to 1778 another, similar version gained immense popularity in France. This version was aptly called Le Lotto and was all but identical to the rules we use today. Except 27 numbers in 3 rows and 9 columns were used, making for what would have been significantly longer rounds.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that the rules were standardised by Hugh J Ward, who offered group gameplay sessions around carnivals in the United States. He later even published a rule book in 1933 and copyrighted this set of rules in his name.
From Beano To Bingo
Though, perhaps the most well-known event occurred in 1929. Edwin Lowe, using the Ward rule book, was running a game at a carnival in Atlanta. Beans were used at the time to mark off numbers, hence making the official name at the time Beano. But, upon getting a matching set, an excited guest cried out Bingo! The other players had such a strong, positive reaction that Beano was changed to Bingo.
Beans are no longer used, of course, but it is reported that Americans still spend roughly $90 million a week on buying tickets. No wonder there is a day of celebration, June 27th.