I must confess the only gambling I do is playing Bingo. Its low pressure, you can talk to you friends or snack while playing and there is always a winner. Personally, I play for fun, but if you are serious about it, you can make some big money at Bingo Halls or online.
Bingo is probably a continuation of the Italian National Lottery, that started in 1530. Through the years it was played in many different areas , under many different names. Some of the commoner names were lotto, lucky,radio, fortune,keno, beanor,pokeno or housey-housey. Early games were pretty much like a lottery, later in France the game took its present day form, with the addition of cards, token, and a person calling out numbers.
In the early 1920’s, Hugh J Ward standardized the rules of Bingo, for play at traveling carnivals. He copyrighted the name and wrote a rule book in 1933.
In 1929, Edwin S. Lowe, a toymaker, visited a carnival in Georgia. He watched some fair visitors playing Beano and thought it was interesting. He made his won cards and bought some little prizes. Lowe then gathered some friends to play in Brooklyn. A girl who won yelled out “Bingo!” and the game was complete. Lowe went out to make millions of game cards.
The game is played on medium sized cards, that are shaped like a grid ,5 across by 5 down, with numbers in every square, except the center square, which is free. As the numbers are called out, players place token on the numbers called.
The odds in bingo are pretty good. Chances of winning a particular game have been are about the same as the numbers of cards in play, someone wins every game, since it is played until someone yells out “Bingo!” Odds of winning a particular evening are probably about 7 to 1. The really high odds, about 1,700,000 to 1 are against the first 5 numbers producing a winning card.
Bingo is played in casinos and gaming halls, but some of the best games are at fraternal and church halls. These games typically only run once or twice a week and the money goes to fund good works. This make Bingo more respectable than other gambling and often game is legal in areas where other gambling is not.
I would play at the American Legion and I never won, but it was a nice evening out for not very much money. I played maybe 6 cards at a time, but I had friends who played 30 at a time. I didn’t have a lucky object, but some people did. So if you go, don’t be surprised if people have to touch each card with a Troll doll, rabbit’s foot or 4 leaf clover. Its just part of the game.