Bingo traces its roots to early form of keno

Jul 16, 2002 6:42 AM

It’s a funny game, this thing we call "Bingo," with unusual origins and a storied history. Here are some interesting tidbits about the game from various sources including my friend, Josh Brown at Bingo Manager Magazine.

The origins of bingo can be traced back to the year 1530 to a state-run European lottery game that Lo Giuco de Lotto originated. "Le Lotto" migrated to France in the late 1700s in a form much like the bingo we know today with a playing card, tokens and numbers read aloud.

Early bingo has had many names and variations. The earliest name, lotto (or loto), a children’s game, was first recorded in 1778. The original American form, called keno, kino or po-keno, dates to the early 19th century. Other American names are beano, lucky, radio, and fortune. At the height of its popularity during the Great Depression of the 1930s, a variant (often called screeno) was played in motion picture theatres, with one night in the week designated bank night, when people received free bingo cards with their admission tickets. Prizes amounted to hundreds of dollars in cash or merchandise.

In 1929, a game called "beano" was played at a carnival near Atlanta, Ga. The bingo game consisted of dried beans, a rubber number stamp and some cardboard. A New York toy salesman named Edwin Lowe, observed the game where players exclaimed "BEANO!" if they filled a line of numbers on their card. Lowe introduced the game to his friends in New York where one of them mistakenly yelled "BINGO!" in her excitement. "Lowe’s Bingo" was soon very popular and Lowe asked competitors to pay him $1 per year to allow them to call their games bingo as well.

Lowe soon sought the services of a math professor at Columbia University, Carl Leffler, to expand the amount of number combinations. In 1930, Professor Leffler devised 6,000 bingo cards with non-repeating number groups. It was said that he completed the task successfully, and then went insane.

In local Las Vegas news about town, at Boulder Station you can play Bingo for half the points this month through July 31, 2002, at all Bingo sessions. For the month of July, 300 Boarding Pass slot club points equals one (1) Bingo Buck, instead of the regular 600 points needed. Visit a kiosk or the Reward Center to get your half point voucher.

Both the Gold Coast and Suncoast are paying double Bingo points at all sessions through the month of July, while Terrible’s continues to reward players with 10 X Bingo points at all sessions.

At Santa Fe Station players can get a free deck of cards at all Bingo sessions on Wednesdays, July 17 or Wednesday, July 31. A minimum buy-in of $4 is required to get the free gift cards. Sunset Station will hold a drawing in the Bingo room on July 28 for a Caribbean Cruise Giveaway. Earn tickets in Bingo during this month’s sessions. Stop by for a list of the complete rules and regulations.

Until next week”¦ May you all shout”¦ "B-I-N-G-O!"