Bingo is not just a game, it’s a cultural icon. Bingo has been played, in one form or another, for nearly five centuries. In the UK, Bingo is a way of life; home to hundreds if not thousands of Bingo Halls. In fact, Bingo has become the top ranking pastime in all of the United Kingdom. In North America, Bingo is not just an occasional pastime, but the number one way to raise funds across the United States; usually associated with religious institutions. Churches in just about every city of the United States hold charity Bingo games each and every week.
What started out as a fad in the early 20th century has evolved into one of the most beloved, well known games in the entire world. Whether it’s the 75-Ball Bingo, 90-Ball Bingo, or the latest craze, 80-Ball Bingo, you would be hard pressed to find anyone (over the age of 4) who hasn’t played, or at least heard of the game of Bingo.
With so many Bingo fans out there, we thought it would be interesting to see how many Bingo fun facts we could drudge up. So here they are – the top 20 Fun Facts about Bingo!
1. The game of Bingo came from a Lottery style game played in Italy dating as far back as 1530 – “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia”. To this day, the game is played Saturday, with proceeds going to fund a large portion of the government’s budget, estimated at 75 million per year.
2. Bingo, as we know it today, was discovered by New York toy manufacturer Edwin S. Lowe in 1929 while attending a carnival outside of Atlanta, Georgia. At that time, the game was termed “Beano” for its use of dried beans to cover numbers on the cards.
3. “Beano” got its new name, “Bingo”, when one of Edwin Lowe’s friends became overly excited, jumping up and mistakenly shouting “Bingo!” The name stuck, and has been Bingo ever since.
4. Bingo is beloved by 7.5% of the earth’s population.
5. Twice as many women love to play Bingo than men – 10% of all women, 5% of all men. If you add 10% and 5% and divide by 2, you get Bingo Fun Fact #4
6. About 30% of Bingo fans are younger than 35 years of age, dispelling the myth that only seniors like to play Bingo.
7. The game of Bingo is the number one source of community fund raising across all of North America.
8. Since the 19th century, Bingo has been used as an educational tool. This method of teaching is believed to have started in Germany, used by young students to learn spelling, history and of course, mathematics.
9. Also used in the educational system is a game called ‘Human Bingo’, often introduced at the start of each school year as a way to help students get to know one another. Human Bingo can be an adult social game, as well.
10. Bingo games average between 3 and 6 minutes in length, including an average of 30 seconds to verify a winning claim in traditional Bingo games. Mechanized versions of Bingo would take mere seconds, of course.
11. 75-Ball Bingo, the original version discovered by Edwin S. Lowe in 1929, is the traditional favorite across North America.
12. In the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, the most popular version is 90-Ball Bingo.
13. Professional Bingo Callers average 23 Bingo numbers called every minute – that’s about 1 number ever 2.6 seconds!
14. In a traditional 75-Ball Bingo game, there are exactly 1,474,200 possible unique card patterns on the 5×5 Bingo card.
15. In the UK favored 90-Ball Bingo, because of the extra numbers and extreme differences in card/ticket development – having 27 squares, but only 15 of them filled with numbers and 12 left blank – there are approximately 552,446,474,061,128,648,601,600,000 possible unique ticket patterns. [If you’re having trouble reading that number allowed, I’ll write it out for you: five hundred fifty-two septillion, four hundred forty-six sextillion, four hundred seventy-four quintillion, sixty-one quadrillion, one hundred twenty-eight trillion, six hundred forty-eight billion, six hundred one million, six hundred thousand.]
16. Bingo has become the number one pastime in the UK. Residents spend more money on Bingo tickets every year than they do on Baseball and Football events combined.
17. UK Bingo fans are a ravenous lot, consuming approximately 15,000 tons of chips, 130,000 breakfasts, 4,000,000 pints of alcohol, 10,000,000 tons of hot beverages and enough jumbo sausages to span 47 miles each and every year at UK Bingo Clubs.
18. If your name is “Joe”, you should be playing Bingo. Statistically, male Bingo players by the name of “Joe” win more often than male players by any other name.
19. If your name is “Margaret”, you should be playing Bingo, as well. Statistically, female Bingo players by the name of “Margaret” win more often than female players by any other name.
20. It took me exactly 3 hours, 14 minutes and 37 seconds to research and compile this list of Bingo Fun Facts 🙂