Bingo Variants Explained

Bingo is a popular game all over the world. The game has a long history and most historians believe the game was invented in Italy sometime during the 15th century. In the late 20’s and early 30’s the first charity and commercial bingo games took place. In the United States and Canada 75 ball bingo is the game of choice. The American version of the game was popularized by a New York toy salesman named Edwin S. Lowe. The game became so popular that Lowe’s factory had three shifts to keep up with the demand for the game. Lowe’s factory ran full tilt during the height of the great depression. Today 75 ball bingo games can be found just about everywhere in the US. 75 ball bingo is also populat with internet bingo players and most bingo sites offer 75 ball games.

In Britain and the former colonies of Australia and New Zealand 90 ball bingo is the dominant game. The game originated in Italy and is still played today during the Christmas season. The game is known as Tombola. 90 ball bingo is a lot different than traditional 75 ball games. 75 ball bingo cards have a 5 X 5 grid with a free square in the center. 90 ball cards, also known as ‘tickets’ in the UK , have 15 numbers divided into three rows with 5 numbers each and 9 columns. There are 4 blank squares on the card.

There are three ways to win when playing 90 ball bingo; one row, two rows and what is known as a ‘full house.’ Bingo games begin when the caller starts calling out the numbers. In the UK the caller announces the beginning of the game by saying “eyes down.” In New Zealand and Australia bingo is known as ‘Housie.’ Thanks to the internet both versions of bingo are now played globally. In the UK the internet bingo industry generates millions annually and is still a growth industry. In the UK bingo operators are allowed to advertise and the game is so popular that there is hardly a commercial television break without at least one advertisement for internet bingo. Some large operators sponsor popular television shows.

Other bingo variants include 80ball bingo and 30 ball bingo also known as ‘speed bingo.’ These games are usually not available at brick and mortar bingo halls but most internet bingo sites offer these games. 90 and 75 ball atre the most popular and will probably remain so well into the future.