The Game of Bingo

In the game of bingo, which number is known as "two little ducks?"

And the answer: 22.

Photo credit: Casino.org.

Played around the world, bingo is a social game of chance, and has its own language, known as "bingo lingo." The number 2 is known as "one little duck," since it looks like a duck on water, while number 22 is known as "two little ducks."

Picture it: The year is 1530, and the Italian government is going broke. Instead of hiking taxes, the government decides to host a game, a lotto, called "Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia." Each week, the first player to fill up the numbered squares on their card won. The masses were pleased with this game, and kept the coffers full as the game kept coming. As time passed, it spread throughout Europe, taking on slightly varied forms. It’s thought that bingo evolved into something resembling the game of chance we know and love today when it first arrived in France, and by 1778 it was roaringly popular.

By the 18th century, the game had found a lasting home for itself in Britain, before finding a market in other nations, including the U.S. At this time, the game is called "Beano," as beans were used to keep track of the called numbers. This gave the game its unofficial name.

Enter: a struggling toy salesman. Attending a town fair near Atlanta, Georgia, Edwin S. Lowe overhears a game of Beano as a player jumps up to shout the penultimate word. However, Lowe mistakes the word for another: "bingo." Though the name was wrong, Lowe embarks down a new path, and by 1930, Lowe's company has created over 6,000 cards under the new "Bingo" brand.

Today, bingo's name is shouted anywhere from the casino to the church, from the kindergarten to the retirement home. Learn more about the history of this game here.


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