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The History of Bingo

The game of bingo originated in Italy. Its roots can be traced back to 1530, to the state run lottery in Italy called "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia". Subsequently the game spread across Europe, including France, where it was called "Le Lotto".

Initially Lotto was played by the aristocracy. However, it gained more widespread appeal and the game was named "Beano" as beans were used to cover the numbers. When a player was the first to get a line of a full house, they would shout "Beano!" The version of the game that developed in Europe was the 90 ball game. However, in the US a different version using 75 numbers arranged in a 5 by 5 grid evolved. The centre square was a free one and did not need to be covered.

The popularity of bingo in the US exploded in the 1930's as an escape from the depression. It was legalised in the US in the 1950s.

In the UK, the British Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 authorised the opening of custom built commercial bingo halls. Whilst bingo had been played widely outside of the law before the act, it grew immensely in popularity after the act. Castle Bingo, in Cardiff, was the first bingo hall built after the act was inaugurated. Now there are around 700 bricks and mortar bingo halls operating in the UK, welcoming millions of customers every year. In total there are over 2,000 establishments in the UK that are licensed to play bingo.

Bingo was not licensed in New Zealand until 1977. It is also played legally in many other countries including:

It is interesting to note that bingo is usually not addictive in the ways that other forms of gambling are. Indeed, bingo is more of a social event and can be considered to be more of a "social" gamble.








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