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Where Did Bingo Calls Come From?

Whether you’re familiar with casino games or not, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of Bingo. The game is said to have originated in Italy in the 1500s, where it was known as ‘Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia’. 

Nowadays, you can play many themed variations of a classic Bingo game, both online, and at your local land-based Bingo hall. 

If you have played the game, you’ve probably heard many of the weird and wonderful calls that make gameplay even more exciting. From “two fat ladies” to “the Brighton line” – each number has a story to tell. But where did Bingo calls come from in the first place?

Read on to find out…

Bingo – from the beginning 

As previously mentioned, Bingo is thought to have originated in Italy. From there, its path can be traced to French shores, where the primitive game became known as ‘Le Lotto’. From here, it didn’t take long for the game to spread onto Great British soil, where it became increasingly popular. 

By the 18th century, the game was being played across towns and cities in Britain, before finding its way over to the United States and other nations. 

It’s in the US that the name Bingo came about. This is credited to Edwin S. Lowe, a toymaker from Long Island, who first saw the game being played at a Carnival in Georgia. Here, beans were being used to mark off the numbers, and so the game of chance was known as Beano. 

When Lowe adopted the game and took it back to New York for his friends to try, it’s believed ‘Bingo’ was shouted out by accident, due to the pure joy of the player crossing off all their numbers. 

Due to this, Lowe is thought to have made some minor changes to the game before rebranding it and selling it as ‘Bingo’. 

The rest is history! 

The beloved Bingo calls

If you’re familiar with Bingo calls, then you might’ve realised a lot of them are inspired by military terms, rhymes and jokes. They are also classically British. 

The calls themselves date back to the 1950s, when Bingo saw another rise in popularity in Britain. Housey-housey, which is a version of Bingo played by servicemen during World War II, is where many of the calls were created. 

Naturally, the quirky rhymes and terms stuck, and have been adapted and modernised over the years – taking inspiration from movies, significant events, popular music, or simply how the numbers look when written.

It’s rare you’ll find a land-based game of Bingo in Britain where the caller doesn’t include these rhymes. Learning them might even help you cross off the corresponding numbers on your cards quicker! 

Now you know more about where Bingo came from and why the amusing Bingo calls are an integral part of British gameplay, do you think you’ll be trying your chances at a land-based Bingo hall, or online casino site anytime soon? 

If so, see if you can spot the military, music or movie-themed calls, originating from the best of British culture!