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Bingo History

An Italian lottery started it

When Italy was unified in 1530, the lottery known as Lo Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia was born.

This weekly lottery has been held virtually every Saturday since its inception.

(See the official, modern Italian Lottery site at Lottomatica.it for details ... although be forewarned, it's in Italian, natch.)

By 1778 word of this game had spread to France and captured the fancy of the intelligentsia. It was during this period that the popular version of the lottery was born.

Cards were divided into three horizontal rows and nine vertical columns.

Each horizontal row contained a total of nine squares - five with numbers and four blank squares - arranged randomly in the row.

The vertical columns contained ten numbers each:

  • column one contained the numbers 1 - 10
  • column two contained 11 - 20
  • column three contained 21 - 30 and so on
  • until the ninth column, which contained the numbers 81 - 90.

Wooden chips with the numbers 1 - 90 were placed in a bag and drawn out one at a time.

Each player had a unique lotto card and if the number called was on their card they marked it off.

The first person to completely cover a horizontal row was the winner.

In the 1800s the popularity of lottery games spread throughout Europe. Education variations were created to aid children in learning their multiplication tables, spelling and even history.

Next: We could all be yelling "Beano!"





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