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The History of Bingo

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The History of bingo goes all the way back to Italy, when Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia, the first lotto-type game, was born in 1530. It slowly gained popularity among the Italian citizenry, and eventually spread to France in the late eighteenth century. The Catholic Church opposed the lottery game in both Italy and France, but that was only more reason for the people to play it. Centuries later, the Church would reconsider their position and accept Bingo as a fun pasttime to entertain nuns and followers and make them spend more time in church.

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As the lotto became more and more popular in Italy and France, by the early nineteenth century, it began spreading throughout Europe. The classic lotto game was played with a card, similar to a modern bingo card, with 3 lines (horizontal) and 9 columns (vertical). Each horizontal line or row had 5 numbered squares and 4 blank squares. The first vertical line or column had the number range 1 through 10, the second column had the range 11-20, the third column 21-30, and so on up to the last column (81-90). The numbers were randomly arranged throughout the card following this pattern.

By the early 1920's, the lotto game, well-known in Europe, reached the United States with the new name of Beano, due to players using beans to mark their cards (this was before the modern ballpoint pen was invented and people wrote with dip pens and fountain pens).

How did Beano become Bingo? The story goes that a New York salesman named Edwin Lowe overheard a Beano player mistakenly exclaiming "BINGO!" instead of "Beano" upon winning. Lowe saw that term as better sounding and better for marketing purposes, and began marketing the game throughout New York, and later the U.S. The renamed game saw some opposition from the anti-gambling sentiment that was growing along with the (gangster-dominated) casino industry, but most people thought it to be harmless entertainment.

Lowe perfected the game with the help of a mathematics professor, Carl Leffler, who found out that by making more random bingo cards, only one player could win per round. They eventually made over 6,000 unique card, up from the original 24 card. It is said that Leffler went mad after a while. It was thanks to these two men that bingo has the popularity it has today.

Bingo is played today by millions all around the world, and in recent times it has made the transition to the virtual world of the Internet. Anyone can play online bingo for free without leaving home by playing on an online casino or, for something closer to traditional land-based bingo, by playing at online bingo halls that emulate real-world bingo, although they don't allow infinite free play. One can win great prizes on online bingos as in land-based bingo halls.

Online Bingo sites are available in many languages, such as Norwegian (Norsk Casino p nett).

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