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Bingo History

We could all be yelling "Beano!"

What started as the Italian lottery made its way to America via a carnival pitchman touring Germany. There he came across a lottery game and recognized its potential appeal as a carnival tent game.

He made a few revisions to the game play, including allowing players to complete a row vertically, horizontally or diagonally in order to win. And he changed the name to Beano.

He was plying his trade one December evening in 1929 at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia, when a traveling toy salesman, Edwin S. Lowe, happened along.

Early for a sales call, Lowe decided to stop at the carnival. The only tent open was the Beano tent, which was so crowded with people that Lowe wasn't able to play the game for himself.

Lowe watched as the players eagerly listened for the next number to be called and, if they had the number on their card, covered it with a bean.

The excitement and tension in the crowd was palpable. When a player finally had a row covered, they yelled out "Beano!"

Lowe watched in astonishment as the pitchman tried several times to close his tent, only to have the players insist he continue.

It wasn't until 3:00 am that the games ended, and even then the pitchman had to chase the players away!

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