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Bingo Queen: From Beano to Bingo, the Origins of Bingo

The game of Bingo is one of the more popular gambling games in the world and like many games Bingo has an interesting history. Bingo originated from Italy, an early form of Bingo was played in 1530. The game Beano was very much like today’s game of Bingo. Cards with numbers were given out and chips with random numbers written on them were drawn from a hat. When a number was called a player would mark the board's square with a bean. After the card was full of beans a player would yell BEANO.

The game spread across Europe and became especially popular in France and Germany. Beano was used by the Germans to teach children math. Beano did not really reach the shores of North America until the late 1920’s. Many towns used Beano as a form of entertainment at local fairs and they found the game to be a great tool for fundraising.

A toy salesman named Edwin S. Lowe stumbled across people playing the game at an Atlanta fair and thought the game could generate some American interest. The name of the game changed from Beano to Bingo after Lowe heard a player mistakenly yell Bingo instead of Beano. Lowe took his idea to a Columbia University math professor named Carl Leffler. It took a year, but Leffler is said to have invented 6,000 different kinds of Bingo cards before the current 5 x 5 design was accepted.

A Catholic priest heard of Bingo and thought it could be an excellent way to raise money for the church. Bingo tournaments were being held around the country, mostly in churches. Today the game is as popular as ever. With the addition of online Bingo many more people around the world are yelling BINGO!

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