Ten things you might not know about bingo

Everyone knows of the game of bingo, even if they haven’t ever played it. Although the game has been around in its current form in bingo halls for almost 100 years now, in the last ten years or so, bingo has rocketed in popularity as it can be played online. There are now more than 100 million online bingo players, logging into their favourite site at any time of the day or night. With such a long and rich history, there are plenty of trivia facts about bingo, ten of which you’ll find below. Maybe after reading this list, you’ll be keen to try out bingo for yourself. There are so many sites to choose from and nearly all of them will offer new players a great welcome bonus credit to get them started. Just search for a bingo site and see which one offers the best games and best bonus package.

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Plenty of celebrities play bingo and many of them are also paid to endorse bingo sites. Barbara Windsor, Kerry Katna, Vic Reeves and Sharon Osborne have all endorsed different bingo games and actor Russell Crowe was once a bingo caller in his youth.

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Although the game we play today has only been around for just under 100 years, bingo has been around in different forms for centuries. One of the earliest games that bears resemblance to the modern game of bingo was ‘lo gioco del lotto del Italia’, which historical records show was played during the 1500s.

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In different countries around Europe, such as Italy and Germany, bingo-like games are used to teach numeracy to children.

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In Australia, bingo is more commonly known as ‘housie’. This probably is in reference to the fact that the game used to be played under marquees so that people didn’t get too hot in the sun while playing.

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In the Depression during the 1930s, a new game based on bingo was introduced. Screeno combined the movies with a game of bingo. On a particular night each week anyone buying a cinema ticket also received a Screeno card too.

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It should have been called Beano. The man who is responsible for the modern game of bingo is an entrepreneur called Edwin S Lowe. Back in the early 1930s, he saw a game of ‘beano’ played at a county fair in Atlanta, Georgia. Players used dried beans were used to cover up numbers as they were called out. When one lady had covered up all her numbers, she was so excited that she shouted out bingo instead of beano to declare that she’d won. When Lowe registered his patent on the game, he decided to call it Lowe’s Bingo.

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In order to increase the number of combinations for bingo cards, Lowe employed an American mathematics professor called Carl Leffler to dream up new combinations of numbers. Leffler did as he was asked and developed more than 6,000 new combinations of numbers for Lowe’s Bingo. Great news for Lowe, but legend has it that Leffler soon went insane after this feat.

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In 75 ball bingo there are 552,446,474,061,129,000,000,000,000 different possible combinations! If you can be bothered to run the maths on this one to check if it’s true, you may just drive yourself crazy like Leffler did.

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Bingo has always been used as a way to raise money for communities. The first time this happened was in a church in Pennsylvania, but the tradition is still going strong with all kinds of community groups running their own bingo fundraisers at different points during the year.

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The most people ever to play bingo in a single venue at once is 60,000. A mass game was staged at New York’s Teaneck Armory and had there been enough room to accommodate them, another 10,000 turned up but had to stay outside. [smartads]

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