Exploring the history of competitive bingo

By William Davis


Aug 19, 2022

Reading time: 2 min

When one thinks of esports, the first games that come to mind are complicated MOBAs or first-person shooters that require lightning-quick reflexes. But in reality, any game can become an esport whether it’s climbing blocks in Catherine or racing to marry Shane as quickly as possible in Stardew Valley.

This is being seen in recent years with people playing classic board games and card games in a competitive setting. If chess can become the leading game on Twitch for a time and Uno is set to have a full competitive circuit in the near future, why not bingo?

The key to understanding Bingo’s charm is its unique history.

What is Bingo’s History?

Bingo is an offshoot of lotto, a game of chance with roots in Italy. Lotto became popular all over Europe in the 19th century, with different personal styles added to the game. Bingo is an American adaptation of lotto that Edwin Lowe popularized it in the late 1920s.

Lowe had observed a crowd playing “Beano,” one of the adaptations of the lotto. He tried out several number combinations and arrangements. He also asked his friends to try the game with him. The legend says that one of his friends exclaimed “bingo” when they won, which is how the game got its name.

From Lowe’s experiment, bingo has evolved and become adopted on many different platforms. Naturally, there are many digital versions of bingo out there for mobile devices and PC.

Many regional variations of bingo exist but the game is still identifiable around the world. Bingo is a pure game of chance. Bingo players must tick off numbers from cards as they are called out. The first person to tick off their numbers within a specific pattern, usually in a line across their card, wins the game.

With familiar and casual games getting more and more attention from gamers, bingo could translate to a new audience. People of all sorts play bingo in business setups similar to bingo New Jersey. Bingo could potentially translate well to a streaming audience, where over-the-top reactions are a common pathway to success.


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