Bingo Trivia

Bingo history, past and present, is full of curious titbits. Here are a few interesting bingo facts and some unusual bingo trivia.

Bingo History Facts

The first of all the nations to play bingo with playing cards and tokens, and to call out the numbers, was France.

In the 1800s, bingo was popular in Germany, especially for teaching children numbers. By the 1930s, bingo hit the United States in the form of a game called “beano”, with beans used to mark the numbers. Beano became bingo when someone called out “Bingo” by accident!

Edwin S. Lowe popularized the game of bingo in the US. His original form of bingo had two versions. These were the 12 and 24 card sets, costing $1 and $2 respectively.

In the early twentieth century, bingo became popular in Australia and New Zealand. Here, the game was known as “housie”. Before the rise of bingo halls, or housie halls, the game was played in large tents.

An interesting piece of bingo trivia is that unlike other gambling games, bingo was never seen as a “sinful” gambling activity. It became popular through its role in church fundraising.

Interesting Bingo Trivia

  • People are still trying to figure out the number of possible arrangements on a bingo card. Some say that there are over 1.4 million arrangements, whereas others say there are a possible 552,446,474,061,128,648,601,600,000 arrangements!
  • Eight percent of the European population plays bingo.
  • Ten percent of women and five percent of men in the UK play bingo.
  • In the UK, a “caller of the year competition” is held where bingo callers compete against each other in order to win a two-week holiday.
  • In the UK alone, bingo club admissions total around £2 million per week, and nearly £90 million per year.
  • Bingo is the only gambling game that members of the armed forces are allowed to play.
  • Over 20,000 people are employed by the bingo industry. These people range from callers to cleaners to accountants.
  • There are approximately 700 licensed and operating bingo clubs in the UK alone.

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