Bingo is one of those games that is enjoyed the world over. No matter their background, bingo players thoroughly enjoy the game. Many believe the game originated in Italy and was invented in the 1500s. But this is a topic up for debate. And you will understand why later once we unpack some of the variations. Let’s have a look at why bingo has such widespread popularity and some of the more popular variations. 

The history of bingo

While each region of the world has its version of bingo, we are going to focus on the Italian origins. Bingo appeared as a pastime during the Renaissance era. While the idea at the time was not to win real bingo money, later on, the game would become popular in the gambling scene. Once the game was widespread in Italy, it traveled across the country and made its way to France, where it evolved into a parlor game favored by the French aristocracy. Soon after, bingo made its way across Europe, and by the 18th Century, it had fully cemented itself as a game of choice in Germany. Fun fact, bingo was sometimes used as a tool to teach mathematics and even spelling too. 

By the 20th Century, bingo had found itself in America. It was popularized through a carnival game called Beano. While the principles of the gameplay are the same as bingo, a salesperson called Edwin S. Lowe took it upon himself to rename it bingo. And thus, bingo was born in the US. Since then, bingo has experienced exponential growth in the country and continues to be a favorite pastime of many. Today you can play bingo online and win some money in the process too.

Why is bingo so appealing?

The main factor why bingo is so appealing is because of how simple and accessible it is. It’s a long-known fact that when things are kept simple and easy to do or understand, people find it more alluring. For the most part, bingo has straightforward rules with an easy-to-understand format. This allows people of all skill levels and age groups to participate. But that’s not all. Because this gameplay is super easy, it ensures that everyone has a fair chance to win.  

Then there’s the social aspect, which we simply cannot overlook. This game is inherently social by nature, which adds to its appeal. It’s a great game to bring people together since it encourages interaction, such as laughter and competitiveness. And speaking about competitiveness, contrary to widespread belief, this is a highly competitive game. And it’s great for icebreakers too. Meeting your significant other’s best friends for the first time? Why not set up a cool bingo-themed party and laugh off the awkwardness by screaming BINGO? And since Easter is on our doorsteps, there are a range of adult easter egg hunts, including bingo, for you to have fun with.

Furthermore, bingo’s popularity and the fact that it brings so many people together has led to the establishment of bingo halls. Quite literally a hall where you can go and play bingo with your friends. Or even to meet new people to build long-lasting friendships. Then there are state parks like Prairie State Park that host Nature Bingo throughout the year. Another factor to consider here is that it’s open for anyone to win. There is no advantage you can acquire other than by cheating that will help you to beat your friends. Bingo is also unpredictable, and this is what adds to its excitement.   

Regional variations 

No matter where you are in the world, you will find some sort of variation of bingo. Whether people are playing like the Americans, British or even Swedish, it’s still bingo. It is important to note that each region comes with its own nuances and unique characteristics, as well as cultural and traditional influences, that are specifically linked to where they are played. We also find that some countries will play, for example, American bingo, then apply their own twists to it.   

America: 75-ball bingo

In America, it is common to find the 75-ball bingo game. This version is played on a 5×5 grid with 75 possible numbers. Furthermore, this variation also features a free space at the center of the card that can be used to complete a winning row. The aim for players is to find a predetermined pattern, such as horizontal, vertical or even diagonal lines, and mark the numbers as they are called. Once a player has a complete row, they yell bingo and win! 

Britain and Australia: 90-ball bingo

This variation is common in two parts of the world, Britain and Australia. For this version, you use a 9×3 grid with 90 possible numbers. The aim for players is to complete up to three horizontal lines, known as one line, two lines and full house. Each line will have a different prize attached to it.   

Sweden: 75-ball bingo

With this variation, it combines the 75 and 90-ball. Here, you play with a 5×5 grid and have the standard 75-bingo format. However, throughout the gameplay, it’s more like 90-ball bingo.