Bingo is Back in Fashion

by , Jul 1, 2016 | 5:38 pm

bingo-tumblerHave you heard? Bingo is all the rage. Blame it on Millennials or maybe steampunk, but just as tonicked hair and classic cocktails have made a stylish comeback, some classic games that have been providing recreational entertainment for generations have also experienced a resurgence in recent years.

The game has come a long way since playing out of a small tumbler. And playing live bingo today in the smoke-filled bingo hall can be intimidating at times. Seasoned players carry their own equipment, in bags full of multi-colored daubers, ready to mark bingo sheets en masse. Sometimes there’s a language all their own, as game organizers call out special promotions, and the action seems to move fast. But still, the desire to play in these big community games is there.

The game can trace its origins back to Italy in the 1500s, and then to France, which introduced “Le Lotto” in the 1770s. The Germans had appropriated the game in the 1800s as an educational tool for children learning math. It would eventually make its way across the pond and was being played in its modern form by the 1920s, as a game called Beano. As legend has it, in 1929 a winner stuttered when screaming with delight about the game she just won, and out of her mouth came “Bingo!” and from there the rest is history. The sound was supposed to emulate a bell ringing.

The game would continue to evolve, with bigger scoresheets and lights soon being added. After a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania delighted in the game and decided to give it a try as a fundraising event, the real-money aspect would take hold in churches throughout North America and in the banquet halls of many philanthropic organizations. By the 2000s the game would find its way online. Many say that online bingo has much to do with its resurgence — as people who get on with bingo sites are finding themselves better prepared for the action (if they can handle the smoke). For nearly a century, wherever they have played this game, whether it be in bingo halls or church basements or grandma’s living rooms, entire families know the authentic thrills of hearing your number and yelling “Bingo!”


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