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The Roots of Bingo


The 21st Century has seen a resurgence in the popularity of a very old game. Bingo has won new popularity in the online world, thanks to sites such as Jackpotjoy. Take a quick browse around the Jackpotjoy games lobby and you'll find a dazzling array of games from which to choose. It attests to the remarkable lifespan of a game that's been played in some form since at least biblical times.

The sheer variation of online bingo games available shows just how far the game has come. Of course, it wasn't always known as bingo. In America, an early version known as Beano was played across the southern states, before being marketed by a savvy New York businessman under the more familiar name of bingo. This stage in the games evolution happened in the twenties, some 80 years before the emergence of online bingo at Jackpotjoy. But the nuts and bolts of the game have their roots (if nuts and bolts even have roots) way before that…

The kind of modern bingo played at Jackpotjoy is essentially a lottery. Lotteries of some kind have been played in all cultures throughout history. Provided the group has some kind of stake - livestock, cash - with which to bet. Whichever country claims to have started the craze, the first mass organised lottery was Lo Giuco del Lotto d'Italia.

It was during the first unification of Italy in 1530 that this pioneering national lottery was born. Some form of del Lotto has been played in Italy almost every week since. It has endured, across five hundred years of political turmoil from war, secession and fascism to revolution and reunification, for as long as there has been a government there to run it.

But it didn't start life as a 120 million pound contribution to the country's coffers. When del Lotto began, it found popularity among the intelligentsia. Not for the proles, the lotto. As it spread through Europe's monied bourgeoisie the game gained real traction in France, where the rules were developed towards the bingo we know today.

Cards were divided into three horizontal and nine vertical rows. Each horizontal row had five numbered squares and four blank squares, laid out in a random arrangement. The vertical rows contained numbers from 1 to 10 in the first row, 11 to 20 in the second row and so on up to 90. There were chips numbered from 1 to 90 with which players covered any numbers they heard called. The first person to complete a row was the winner.

During the 1800's, variations on the game began to appear. A German version was designed to encourage children to learn their multiplication tables. Bingo variants helped people with their spelling, and to learn about animals or history. The evolution has continued into the 21st Century, given a significant boost by the internet revolution.

Websites have sprung up offering ever new and exciting versions of bingo. A site such as Jackpotjoy offers all manner of slight variations designed to please increasingly niche markets. The online bingo explosion is a logical continuation of an ages-old pursuit.
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