history of bingo

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THE HISTORY OF BINGO......In the UK there is a Bingo Association which has gathered the following information:  
A few Facts and Figures about the history of Bingo in the Industry   
There are 688 licensed bingo clubs operating in the UK (as of 31st March 2002)   
Figures for 2001 show an estimated total market of around 85 million admissions   
In 2001, £246 million was paid to the Exchequer in duty and VAT   
Estimated total industry pre-tax profit for 2001 was £149 million.   
The average customer spends £18-22 on a night at bingo (making no allowance for winnings). This includes bingo tickets, VAT and Duty, other gaming, food and drink.   
Over £999 million was paid out in prizes in 2001 in licensed clubs.   
Bingo is the only gambling activity where women are more likely to play than men.  
70% of bingo players are women, and 30% are men. Overall, 10% of all women 
play compared to only 5% of men.   
Bingo playing is spread evenly across all age categories, with the average age of players being under 50.
The history of Bingo  
The Early Roots  
Bingo as it is today is a form of lottery. Lottery being something that is regarded as a chance event - the random pulling of numbers to match a set of numbers on a ticket.   
Now for the history of Bingo. Bingo is believed to be a direct descendant of Lo Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia. When Italy 
was united in 1530, the Italian National Lottery Lo Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia was 
organized, and has been held, almost without pause, at weekly intervals to this date. Today the Italian State lottery is indispensable to the government's budget, with a 
yearly contribution in excess of 75 million dollars.  
In 1778 it was reported in the French press that Le Lotto had captured the fancy of  
the intelligentsia. In the classic version of Lotto, which developed during this period, 
the playing card used in the game was divided into three horizontal and nine 
vertical rows. Each horizontal row had five numbered and four blank squares in a 
random arrangement.The vertical rows contained numbers from 1 to 10 in the first 
row, 11 to 20 in the second row, et cetera, up to 90. No two Lotto cards were alike. 
Chips numbered from 1 to 90 completed the playing equipment. Players were dealt 
a single Lotto card, then the caller would draw a small wooden, numbered token  
from a cloth bag and read the number aloud. The players would cover the number 
if it appeared on their card. The first player to cover a horizontal row was the winner.  
Educational bingo   
In the 1800's educational Lotto games became popular. A German Lotto game of  
the 1850s was designed to teach children their multiplication tables. There were  
other educational Lotto games such as 'Spelling Lotto,' 'Animal Lotto,' and  
'Historical Lotto."   
Even in today's highly competitive toy and game market, Lotto is holding its own; 
Milton Bradley sells a Lotto game featuring the Sesame Street Muppets. The game 
is designed to provide children in the 3 to 6 year age range with a splash of fun 
while, at the same time, teaching them to count and recognize numbers.  
Work bingo  
There are other versions of bingo you can make yourself - Got a boring meeting ahead? Create a sheet with words on that you'll  expect to hear - all the industry buzz words  
that are so cliched, and mark them off as you hear them. This can be a great aid to   
staying awake through boring presentations and meetings.  
It was an evening in December of 1929 when a very tired New York toy salesman, 
Edwin S. Lowe, decided to drive on to Jacksonville,  Georgia so that he might have 
an early start for his next day's appointments. The year before, with two employees  
and $1,000 capital, Lowe had set up his own toy company. Soon after, the market  
crashed and the outlook for his budding firm looked bleak indeed.  
A few miles from Jacksonville, Lowe came around a bend in the road and was greeted 
by the bright lights of a country carnival. He was  ahead of schedule, so he parked  
his car and got out. All of the carnival booths were closed except one, which was  
packed with people.  
Lowe stood on tiptoes and peered over the shoulders of the participants. The action centered on a horseshoe shaped table covered with numbered cards and beans.  
The game being played was a variation of Lotto called Beano. The pitchman, 
or caller, pulled small numbered wooden disks from an old cigar box and, at the  
same time, called the number aloud. The players responded by eagerly checking their  
card to see if they had the number called; if so, they would place a bean on the  
number. This sequence continued until some someone filled a line of numbers on their  
card - either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. This feat was marked by the  
shout of "Beano!" The winner received a small doll.  
Ed Lowe tried to play Beano that night, but, he recalls, "I couldn't get a seat. 
But while I was waiting around, I noticed that the players were practically addicted to the game. The picthman wanted to close up, but every time he said,  
"This is the last game', nobody moved.   
When he finally closed at 3:00 a.m. he had to chase them out."  
After locking up, the pitchman told Lowe that he had run across a game called 
Lotto while traveling with a carnival in Germany the previous year. His immediate  
thought was that it would make a good tent or carnival game. He made a few  
changes in its play, and a change of the name to Beano. The game proved to be such 
a surefire crowd pleaser and money maker that on his return to the United States, 
he continued to work the game on the Carnival circuit.  
Returning to his home in New York, Lowe bought some dried beans, a rubber  
numbering stamp and some cardboard. Friends were  invited to his apartment and  
Ed Lowe assumed the pitchman's duties. Soon his friends were playing Beano with the same tension and excitement as he had seen at the carnival. During one session Lowe noticed that one of his players was close to winning. She got more excited as each  
bean was added to her card. Finally there was one number left - and it was called!  
The woman jumped up, became tongue  tied, and instead of shouting "Beano," stuttered "B-B-B-BINGO!"  
" I cannot describe the strange sense of elation which that girl's cry brought to me,"  
Lowe said. "All I could think of was that I was going to come out with this game,  
and it was going to be called Bingo!"  
The earliest Lowe Bingo game in two variations - a twelve card sert for one dollar 
and a two dollar set with twenty-four cards.   
The game was an immediate success and put Lowe's company squarely on its feet.  
Although the name Bingo could very well have been trademarked, the game itself, 
having come out of the public domain, had little chance of being protected. 
Imitators came out of the woodwork once the success of Lowe's game was evident. 
Lowe was very gracious about the whole affair. He asked his competitors to pay him 
a dollar a year, and to call their games Bingo, too. A small price to pay to avoid 
litigation - and thus the name became generic.  
Bingo Cards and Insane Mathamaticians  
Several months after Bingo hit the market, Lowe was approached by a priest  
from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The Father had a problem in his parish. A fast thinking parishoner had come up with the idea of using Bingo as a way to get the church out  
of its financial troubles. The priest had put the scheme into operation after having  
bought several sets of Lowe's $2.00 Bingo game. However, problems developed immediately when it was found that each game produced half a dozen or more 
winners. Lowe could immediately see the  tremendous fund raising possibilities  
of Bingo, but at the same time, he realized that to make the game workable on  
this large of a scale,  a great many more combinations of numbers would have to 
be developed for the cards. To accomplish this, Lowe sought the services of   
an elderly professor of mathematics at Columbia University, one Carl Leffler.  
Lowe's request was the the professor devise 6,000 new Bingo cards with non  
repeating number groups. The professor agreed to a fee that remunerated him on 
a per card basis. As the professor worked on, each card became increasingly  
difficult. Lowe was impatient, and toward the end the price per card had risen   
to $100. Eventually, the task was completed. The E.S. Lowe Company had its 6,000 
cards - at the expense of the professor's sanity!  
The church of Wilkes-Barre was saved and after it, a Knights of Columbus Hall  
in Utica, New York. Word spread fast - "I used to get thousands of letters asking  
for help on setting up Bingo games, "said Lowe - so many that he published  
Bingo's first Instructional Manual. This effort was followed by a monthly news 
letter called The Blotter (absorbs all Bingo news) which was distributed to   
37,000 subscribers. By 1934 there were an estimated 10,000 Bingo games a week, 
and Ed Lowe's firm had a thousand employees frantically trying to keep up with 
demand - nune entire floors of the New York office space, and 64 presses printing  
24 hours a day - "... we used more newsprint than the New York Times!" According  
to Lowe, the largest Bingo game in history was played in New York's Teaneck Armory - 60,000 players, with another 10,000 being turned away at the door.  
Ten automobiles were given away. Bingo was off to a fast start, and at the same time, 
had reserved itself next to baseball and apple pie - thanks to Ed Lowe and the  
loss of Professor Leffler's sanity. That's the History of Bingo.