Bingo From Around The World: 7 Interesting Facts

Close up of bingo cards with bingo ball cage in the background

Playing bingo is fun, but it’s also exciting to grow your knowledge of your favourite game. In this article, we share 7 fascinating facts about bingo from around the world.

1 – It’s still very popular in many countries around the world

Fans will not find this at all surprising, but if you’re new to the game you might be amazed to hear that it’s still enjoyed by millions of people across the world. Players in the UK, US, Italy, France, Russia, India, Brazil, and many more countries enjoy playing every week.

The UK alone has approximately 3.5 million active players, with popular stats site Statista reporting that the industry was worth over £1 billion in 2019.

2 – The earliest recorded game comes from Italy

Historians believe that this much-loved game has its roots in an Italian game called Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia. This Italian national lottery began in 1530 and still continues to this day.

3 – It has many names across the globe

Most of us may know this game of chance by its most popular name, bingo, but it goes by many other names too. Depending on where you live you may also know this game as:

  • Beano
  • Housie
  • Keno
  • Lotto
  • Le Lotto
  • Tombola

4 – There are different types of bingo

Aerial view of two 3x9 bingo cards on table with traditional numbered barrels

When most of us talk about the game, we’re likely to think about one version. However, there are different forms of the game that are enjoyed by players across the world.

The two most popular versions are 75 and 90 ball bingo. The most obvious difference between these two games is the number of balls used by the host. However, it’s not until you sit down and begin to play that you’ll discover there is another difference between these two versions.

This difference is in the type of cards that players use. In the 75 ball version, players mark off numbers on a 5×5 card, while in the 90 ball version, players mark off numbers on a 9×3 card. Each of these games comes with their own winning patterns, which can include the standard winning horizontal, diagonal, or vertical lines, as well as other interesting shapes, such as hearts, stars, and letters.

But which country plays which version of the game? In the US, players mostly play the 75 ball version of the game with a 5×5 card, while in the UK, most players prefer the 90 ball version.

5 – It’s also a popular pastime in Russia

Russia has very strict rules around gambling, with Russian gambling fans only having legal access to a few games. One of those games is bingo.

If you are a Russian player that prefers to play in person at a club, a company called Bingo Boom operates over 600 shops in the CIS region. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the game from the comfort of your own home, Russian fans can also log onto an online bingo site to play.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Russian players also get to enjoy the game on TV, thanks to a popular bingo game show being broadcast live to players across the country.

6 – Online bingo is all the rage in Japan

Japan also has very strict gambling laws, with all gambling being illegal until relatively recently. Thankfully, Japan has started to relax their gambling laws over the last couple of decades, with the most recent change being the introduction of casino licences in 2018.

Naturally, with the Japanese government’s strict legislation towards gambling relaxing over the years, more games like online bingo have also started to flourish. In fact, the world’s largest-ever online game took place in Japan in 2010. It was hosted by Coca-Cola Japan and had 493 824 people in attendance.

7 – This game of chance was first used as an educational tool in Germany

Germany didn’t miss out on the craze either, but while the rest of the world jumped on the game as a hobby, Germans enjoyed it for a different reason. In the 1800s they saw the potential it had as a fun, educational experience, and adapted the game to teach children maths.

This trend didn’t fade away, with this popular game of chance still being used as a teaching tool for other subjects, including science, geography, and biology.

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