history of bingo

Although bingo was, initially, begun somewhere in the 16th century, the game was known today seems to have been established in around 1927. Although it’s not quite what we play today, many of the same elements were there, and it is likely that we would recognise the gameplay if we saw it – we’d be able to tell that it’s bingo. 

One of the biggest differences though, and one that is most forgotten when looking at the history of the game, is that it wasn’t always called online bingo. Let’s look at this more closely. 


In Atlanta in 1927, there was a game called beano which was played in the carnivals. This game was popular and a great way to while away the time, and since the carnivals travelled around, the game soon got to be known across the USA. Beano look and sounds a lot like bingo in terms of how the game is played. So why was it called beano and what changed it to bingo? 

There are a number of different reasons why beano was so called. The first is that it was not played with money at all, but with beans instead. This made it more fun to play with less stress involved, so the carnival people enjoyed it – there would have been nothing worse than falling out with someone you had to then live in a caravan with and perform nightly in a tent with. It was best to keep things civil. 

The other reason for the name beano was that this was what people called out when they won. No ‘bingo’ or ‘house’, the shout you would have heard playing this game (or shouted yourself if you were lucky enough) would have been ‘beano!’ 

No Beans

Eventually it was decided that money was much more fun to play with than beans, and this is how the next progression happened. In fact, this has remained a constant in bingo ever since, with the game being played for money more often than not. But rather than paying money directly to the players as it used to be done, today the money is spent on buying tickets. These tickets or cards are covered in numbers, and these are the numbers that need to be called in order to win. 

Since beans aren’t such an easily accessible form of currency anymore, using money is a much easier way to do it, and it means that many more people can play. 

The Internet

Today, bingo is mostly played online on specialist bingo sites or in online casinos. This has opened up the world of bingo to a much wider audience; it can be played whenever you want, and thanks to mobile gaming it can be played wherever you want too. 

Bingo seems to be just as popular as ever and this is going to have a lot to do with the way that the internet is now being used.

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