The full guide to Bingo facts

| 25.08.20 | 0 Comments

Bingo History and Facts

From nursing homes to churches, from land-based bingo halls to online bingo sites – the game of bingo has been a part of our lives since invented in Italy in the 1500’s and is with us to stay for centuries to come.  So what is the secret of this game that makes it such a huge part of social gatherings of all ages, genders and backgrounds? Is it a gambling event, social gathering or an exciting mix of both?

Our bingo experts at Top5bingosites did extensive research to bring you everything you need to know about the game.  So before going out to meet with friends and daub your cards, read our comprehensive bingo guide.  We promise you that after reading it, your bingo experience will never be the same again!

European History of Bingo

Today bingo is well known and can be found anywhere online and on the high street.  But let’s take a quick look at the earlier history of the game.  To start our Top5bingosites review, we went back in time to Italy of 1530 where an Italian lottery in the name of ‘Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia’ (or in English ‘The lotto game of Italy’) was played every Sunday across the country.  Migrating from Italy, bingo was introduced in France in the late 1770s where it was named simply ‘Le Lotto’ and was played among French’s high society.  In the 1800s the Germans also joined the bingo party and played a version of the game that was mainly used to teach children math, spelling, history and other subjects.

Bingo Arriving to America

Bingo was later brought to America by European migrants and became popular as a game played in country fairs where the bingo dealer would have a cigar box full of discs with numbers written on them, and he would pick one and call it out.  Players would mark their bingo cards with beans, and would call ‘beano’ when they won, hence the game was known as ‘beano’ for a while.

Edwin S. Lowe

In 1929 a game of ‘beano’ was played in a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia when a toy salesmen from New York named Edwin S. Lowe overheard someone yelling ‘bingo’ by mistake instead of ‘beano’.  He decided to rename the game as we know it today as ‘bingo’, so we probably also owe him thanks for our Top5bingosites name!

Changing the name was just the beginning.  Lowe then hired Carl Leffler, a Colombia University math professor, who worked on increasing the number of combinations to create unique bingo cards.  Leffler came up with 6,000 different bingo cards! Which then helped eliminate non-repeating number groups and duplicates which will allow one person (or a number of different cards) to get a bingo at the same time.

Lowe was a Jewish immigrant that came from Poland to America, and the E.S. Lowe Company he founded started with producing bingo cards but soon expanded further.  After meeting a couple of friends who played on their yacht what is today known as ‘Yatzee’, he bought the rights to that game and developed it too.  Top5bingosites learned that Lowe’s company was sold to Milton Bradley in 1973 for $26 million.  Lowe, the father of modern-day bingo as we know it, died in 1986 at the age of 75.

Church Bingo

Story has it that a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania contacted Lowe and asked for help and advice in setting up a bingo night at church in order to raise funds.  Since then bingo took churches by storm as both a fundraising activity and an opportunity for a social gathering to bring parishioners together.  By 1934, an estimated 10,000 bingo games were held weekly in churches, and it has been growing exponentially ever since.  Top5bingosites staff noted that although gambling is banned in many states in the US, bingo is still a huge gambling event that is allowed and regularly held for raising funds by churches, schools and other community and non-profit groups.

Other Community Bingo

Beside churches, bingo is played in many places in the community as it is considered a good recreational therapy and gives a chance for people to practice their social skills.  And so, bingo games are played in many schools, nursing homes and community centres for smaller prizes that although may not be as large as the ones in casinos and professional gambling halls, still keep everyone excited and tuned into the game.

Casino Bingo

Still being a gambling activity, bingo is also played in many casinos all across the US with bingo rooms and halls in casinos operated by Native American tribes, in Nevada and many other places in North America.  Top5bingosites even learned that E.S. Lowe built and operated its own casino and hotel on the Las Vegas strip, the Tallyho Inn.  Today it is estimated that over $4.3 billion is spend on bingo each year in the US alone!

Bingo in the UK

Bingo has been a big part of the UK’s culture and history for decades, with over 600 land-based bingo halls such as Gala Bingo that host every night people of all genders, backgrounds and age groups.  There are very famous brands in the UK that also offer an online bingo site, one of the famous ones being The Sun Bingo, owned by the popular daily newspaper that carries the same name.

Top5bingosites quotes statistical research that estimates bingo in the UK is worth over £1 billion.  Approximately 60% of revenues are generated from bingo halls, another 30% from merchandise and cash bingo draws in remote-held games, and 10% of revenues are generated by different prize bingo games.

Online Bingo

Similar to online casinos and  betting sites that were launched in the 1990s, the first online bingo game known to be launched was ‘Bingo Zone’ in 1996.  It was soon followed by other online bingo sites that are now considered a game of choice for many bingo players that are looking to play from their homes using their computer or from anywhere else using their mobile device.

Top5bingosites estimates there are more than 3 million daily online bingo players in the UK.  According to reports generated by the UK’s Gambling Commission, online bingo in the UK is now generating more than £200 million in annual revenue.

Online Bingo Games

There are many ways to play bingo, both on and offline.  What’s great about online bingo sites is that they bring different bingo variations from countries and areas around the world.  Here are a few of the most popular bingo game versions:

  • 90 Ball Bingo is the most popular game in the UK but it is also played in North America. Each card has 15 numbers which are divided into three rows of 5.  The first player to complete a full row is the winner and the runner up needs to complete two rows.  The third-placed player needs a full house, whereas all 15 numbers on the card need to be called.  Every UK online bingo site that our Top5bingosites experts reviewed features 90 ball bingo.
  • 75 Ball Bingo is the second most-popular bingo game and is more common in the United States and Canada. The cards in this version have 25 squares which are laid out in 5 rows of 5 numbers each.  There is a free square in the middle of the card, leaving a total of 24 numbers which are organized with the B-I-N-G-O letters assigned to each column

Numbers are organized in groups of 15 for each letter: B is 1-15, I is 16 to 30, N is 31 to 45, G is 46 to 60 and O is 61 to 75.  A win will be awarded to the first player that completes a row or column.  Although 75 ball bingo is popular in North America, most online bingo rooms in the UK also offer this version of the game.  One place that our bingo experts from Top5bingosites like to go and play 75 ball bingo is CostaBingo.

  • 80 Ball Bingo is played on a card that has 4×4 columns and is played by completing a row or column. Another great way to play this game which our bingo experts at Top5bingosites love is pattern bingo, where players are required to complete certain patterns in order to win.
  • 30 Ball Bingo is a speedy game played on 3×3 square bingo cards.

Casino Side Games

As bingo is a game that requires patience while waiting for sessions to start and numbers to be called, many bingo players in land-based bingo halls will use their time between games to play on casino and slot machines that are usually based in the lobby of bingo venues.

If you are playing online bingo, there is a huge range of casino games that are offered in addition to bingo.  So while you are waiting for a bingo game to start you can play your favourite scratch card game, online slot or even some amazing casino table games like online roulette, blackjack and more.

Bingo and Sports Betting

Not surprisingly, there are many bingo players that love to place bets on their favourite football teams, horse races other sport events.  The Grand Nationals and Cheltenham for example are known as a UK celebration of horseracing culture, whereas many bingo players will place bets on their favourite horses.

There are many different horseracing betting sites that will let you place your bets safely and securely and you can even play on many of them bingo at the same time.  So in terms of registration, deposits and withdrawals you will save all the hassle of doing things twice.

If you are a football fan like many bingo players are, male and female alike, why not also add some excitement to your weekend bingo games and place a few bets on footy? The good news is that many of the biggest UK football betting sites like William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral Sports and more also have the best online bingo games.  So why not place a few bets on football whilst playing a game of bingo over the weekend? Not only that it can make things more interesting, but there’s also a chance to win even more great prizes!

Mobile Bingo Games

Similar to mobile casinos, many of the UK’s biggest online bingo sites offer a mobile bingo version which allows you to play a game of bingo on your smartphone or tablet from wherever you are.  Top5bingosites features many online bingo operators that offer instant-play bingo which can be accessed from any mobile browser.  Some online bingo operators also offer a dedicated mobile app which can be downloaded and installed on mobile phones and tablets.  These apps are available for both Android and iOS devices.  For everything you need to know about mobile bingo, read the extensive guide written by our Top5bingosites team.

A few Fun Bingo Facts

Beside their love of bingo, our bingo experts at Top5bingosites also love trivia.  So to wrap up, they combined their two loves and brought you a few fun facts about the game:

  • It is estimated that about 30% of land-based bingo hall players are men and 70% women. Women are also known to play bingo more often.
  • In Online bingo, it is estimated that about 83% of players are women and 17% men.
  • When combining all the world’s bingo revenues, it is estimated to be worth over £50 billion a year!
  • In the US, bingo is more popular in attendance than the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, Hockey and NSACAR combined!
  • About half of the world’s online bingo earnings come from UK bingo sites.
  • Casino side games account for over 50% of what an average bingo player will spend online.


Finally, keep in mind that whether you are into 75, 90 ball or any other type of bingo, it is always about safe fun and entertainment and never a way to earn money.  Keep safe and set yourself budgets and time limits, and never try to win back your losses.

If you feel that you had too much and bingo isn’t fun anymore, stop playing immediately.  Take a break and seek help if needed.  So you can come back fresh next time for great bingo chat, fun and games.

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