Bingo – From Gods to the Web

Bingo is nearly as old as the hills and certainly as old as the Roman Empire though of course the original game was somewhat different from what it is today. Many sources attribute the origins of bingo to the Italian lottery, but this appears to be a case of web repetition which has the tendency to turn a mere suggestion into an apparent fact.

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Bingo is a sophisticated form of a lottery. The outcome of a lottery is decided by drawing a number or set of numbers at random and if those numbers have been previously selected by the player, then he or she becomes the winner. In a conventional lottery it is necessary to just have the numbers, but in bingo the pattern of numbers is important.

Lots are individual stones or runes which were cast in order to determine the wishes of the Gods and they have been used in many different religions including Christianity. Kings were chosen buy casting lots and empires were divided up. Although lots are no longer used in modern religions, bingo and other forms of lottery are often used for raising funds for such things as the upkeep of Christian churches.

During the middle ages lotteries were used to raise the equivalent of taxes, though what made the Italian lottery which was launched in Florence in1539 unique was that it was the first one to award cash prizes. Presumably this is the reason why many attribute the origins of bingo to it.

The bingo boom of modern times is down to the internet. Although from the 1960’s onwards real live bingo both gained and lost popularity depending on the economic outlook and fashions of the time, web based bingo has just grown in popularity, outstripping many other forms of online gambling.

Also, it is now possible to win very large sums of money from the game (several people have become millionaires from it) though many people play if more for fun and a small flutter rather than aiming for the moon.

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