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Merlo, Consultant
Category: General
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Experience:  Univ of Missouri Business major with minor in Psychology
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Resolved Question:

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Merlo replied 8 years ago.
Hello cb,

Bingo didn't start as the bingo we know now. It actually started as a lotto game, thus justifying its status being a gambling game. The classic lotto was originated in Italy. The card was made up of three rows and nine columns. In a row, five squares are numbered while four are left as blank spaces. The first column was randomly numbered from 1 to 10, the next from 11 to 20, so on. This popular game is made very exciting and well known, thanks to Edwin S. Lowe.

Lowe was a toy salesman from New York. One evening in December 1929, while he was on his way to Georgia, he decided to stop by a carnival to give him some time out. He noticed there were many people playing and watching this lotto-like game called Beano. Its form is as similar as our bingo today, although they used beans as markers and numbers. Whoever completes the pattern has to shout Beano to be recognized as a winner. The caller of that booth told Lowe that he adapted this game from a lotto game in Germany; he just made several adjustments and improvements. Lowe tried this with several of his friends and it was a hit. One of his friends was so excited to win, when she actually won, instead of shouting "Beano" she shouted "Bingo". Lowe thought it was catchy so he adapted it. Bingo became an instant hit that with his earnings his company was able to thrive.

The first bingo cards came in sets of 12 and 24. One of Lowe's first problems was that the numbers he printed in his cards were almost repeating, thus increasing the players' chance of winning. Although it is good for the players, it isn't for the ones conducting the game. Because of that, he asked help from a mathematician named Carl Leffler. Leffler was able to make 6000 cards, each had numbers jumbled in such a way that the chance of winning is small. Lowe was able to help a parish and an organization with their earnings from conducting bingo games.

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Thank you cb, and enjoy your bingo games!

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