The Story of Bingo – from its Roots to Free Bingo Games for Cash

Bingo and lotteries have a lot in common, both relying on the luck of the draw. The early lotteries emerged in Italy in the 16th century, with the Sunday afternoon “Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” proving a great attraction for those looking for an easy path to wealth. Although originally a pastime of the social elites, it’s not hard to see how such a simple concept swept across the populations of France, the UK and Germany – finding its true international appeal when it broke that most legendary of all markets: America. The version developed in the New World is likely to have involved numbers drawn from a cigar box, and beans used to cover those same numbers on game cards – hence the evolution of the name “bingo” from “beano”.

Here is a list of the highest lottery winnings (data from the BBC):

  • First place – £504.7 million – 2012
  • Second place – £499 million – 2013
  • Third place – £454 million – 2013
  • Fourth place – £452 million – 2012
  • Fifth place – £434 – 2015


Bingo – or How America Went Mad! - Bingo for freeBingomania has its roots in the suburbs of New York, where high-alcohol spirits and simple games were the preferred entertainment of working men and women after a hard day’s graft. Among the favoured games was the abovementioned “beano” – which quickly became a huge attraction at the fairs and side shows of Atlanta, Georgia. Despite being such a simple concept – covering numbers on a board with beans – it raised great excitement among participants. And it is in Atlanta that the legend becomes a little hazy; a woman (some say a man) got carried away with the adrenaline of the game and yelled “bingo!” instead of “beano!”… the name caught on, and also caught the attention of toy manufacturer Ed Lowe. This entrepreneur first observed the game in play, then, seeing an opportunity to make a financial killing, launched his own version.

Mr Lowe’s “bingo” was an instant hit, and he was soon selling it almost faster than he could manufacture the simple elements. The money rolled in, and he hired a maths professor to develop a series of 6 000 cards, all with unique combinations of numbers. Mr Lowe became rich – the academic he took on had a serious mental breakdown from the exertion.