What’s in a name? A history of Bingo

The game itself has been known by many names, the first being “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia”, which was quickly shortened to “Le Lotto” when it moved to France in the late 1700s. 

“Le Lotto” is a far cry from the familiar name of Bingo we know and love today, so what’s in a name? 

Read on to discover a brief history of Bingo, and why the name of the game developed out of pure joy…

If you’re familiar with games of chance, you’ve probably heard of Bingo. Arguably, one of the most popular games throughout history, Bingo has truly stood the test of time, evolving from its earliest forms in Italy in the 1500s. 

France – Le Lotto

When “Le Lotto” made its way across French boarders, it was adopted by the wealthy and the aristocracy. 

This version was similar to that which we know today. It featured 27 squares which were laid out in three rows and nine columns with numbers one to 90 arranged randomly in the boxes. 

A caller would pick a wooden number token at random and read the number aloud for players to cover if they had the corresponding number on their card. The first person to cover a horizontal line was crowned the winner.

England – Housey Housey

The game adapted slightly when it landed on British shores, becoming more widely known as “Housey Housey”. Winning players would shout “House” upon completing a winning line. 

North America – Beano

In the 1920s, “Le Lotto” travelled to North America, where it became known as “Beano”. 

This name was developed at a carnival in Georgia, where it’s said that toymaker Edwin Lowe overheard players enjoying the game. 

He saw players covering their cards with beans when the caller pulled wooden disks out of a cigar box and call the corresponding numbers aloud. They would then call “Beano” upon winning. 


When Lowe returned home to New York, he simply couldn’t shake the idea that the game he had observed was so popular. 

He gathered a rubber numbering stamp, a card board and some dried beans before gathering his friends to demonstrate “Beano”. 

It is said that out of pure excitement, one of his friends cried “Bingo” instead of “Beano” upon winning, which somehow stuck. 

By the 1940s, people were playing Bingo all across the country, and the name travelled throughout Europe, becoming more widely known as Bingo more than anything else.

A look to the future

As commercialised Bingo came about, people could travel to their local Bingo halls to try their chances at the classic game. Then, after the first online casino opened their virtual doors in 1996, technology continued to advance, paving the way for live Bingo.

Offering the most authentic Bingo experience online, live Bingo is just a glimpse into the future of the game. You can play anytime, anywhere you have internet access – making Bingo more accessible than ever before! 

With so many names for the classic game having evolved over time, what do you call Bingo?  

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Brian Ferdinando
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Brian Ferdinando aka Chuckie joined us and has delivered outstanding work. The Gaming Vlogger is a sharp hand with a camera (In front and behind it) with slick editing skills too.

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