Bingo is one of the most popular games played across the world today. Whether it be grandparents having a few games at a church function or a group of friends heading out for a night of drinking bingo, a version of the game is played everywhere.
The history of bingo and the statistics behind the game make for very interesting reading. Whether it be the paper and marker version, or online bingo, here are some great facts to tell everyone at your next game.
The story of bingo starts all the way back in the 15th century in Italy. A game that went by Lotto was played as early as 1530. By the 18th century, a home version was created, which went by the name Tombola.
In 1778, a French version was introduced called Le Lotto. This game featured a card with 27 squares arranged in three rows of nine columns. This version would be the basis of the format that the game is played in today.
Fast forward to the early 1900s, and a man by the name of Hugh J. Ward standardized a version of the game that was played at carnivals. A few years later, a man named Edwin Lowe began producing and selling bingo sheets that people played at traveling carnivals.
The origins of the name bingo aren’t clear, but it is said that a friend of Lowe was playing a version of the game, and in her excitement when she won, she yelled out, “Bingo!”. The name was such a hit that it stuck.
There are many different variations of bingo, with some ranging from just playing online to the far more absurd Bovine Bingo, where for whatever reason, cow excrement is used to draw the numbers on the card.
A relatively common version of bingo is called U-Pick Em’ Bingo. This version sees players being able to mark and then monitor the numbers they want to come up with. This variation resembles keno in many ways, but it is still a very popular bingo variation.
Shotgun Bingo is a version often played between rounds of regular bingo. Players usually only play with two cards, as the numbers are read out as fast as possible. This high-speed version is popular almost everywhere.
Quick Shot Bingo isn’t that common but still an entertaining variation. Cards are sealed, and their numbers are unknown, but players try to match their cards to a set of pre-drawn numbers or a predetermined pattern. Prizes then correspond to a prize table.
An uncommon variation but one that is still highly enjoyable is Death Bingo. This variation is the opposite of regular bingo, where players are eliminated when they get a bingo. The winner is the player who marks the most numbers without getting a bingo.
Much like a Rubik’s cube, there is a staggering amount of potential combinations on a bingo card. The exact number is 552,446,474,061,128,648,601,600,000 possible combinations of numbers on a card. Meaning it is nearly impossible for any player in the game’s history to have had the same combination of numbers.
The amount of money spent on bingo cards in the United States is another massive number. It is estimated that, on average, $90 million is spent on cards each week, making it one of the most profitable games on earth.
What makes this number even better is that in the United States, most bingo nights and games are held by churches and charities. This means a lot of the money goes towards good causes and improving the games’ communities.
Regarding prize winners, it is estimated that nearly 95% of players have won the biggest prize at their bingo evening at least once. Bingo is also very much the favored game of women, making up 80% of the active player base. Online bingo has a similar split, with women making up 83% of the player base.
Considering bingo is very popular amongst the elderly, the main prize is ranked as the fifth reason to play regularly, with socializing and having fun being ranked as the top reasons. Many also view it as a way of doing good, as buying tickets and refreshments at bingo nights are donations in a way.