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How to play 75 ball bingo game

75 ball bingo is the typical form of the game that is played in North America. While bingo began with the 90 ball bingo version, in the 1930s a toy manufacturer by the name of Edwin Lowe began promoting 75 ball bingo throughout the United States.

Actually Lowe’s fascination with bingo began in the last month of 1929. He had just set up a toy company in 1928 and had barely gotten his business under way when the great stock market crash of 1929 took place. At the end of 1929 Lowe was worried and exhausted. He was heading to Jacksonville, Georgia, to try to sell his line of toys. Just outside of Jacksonville he encountered a carnival. He stopped to check out the carnival. This is where the seeds of 75 ball bingo were planted.

He was surprised to find that all of the booths were closed except for one. The open booth was completely packed with people sitting at a horseshoe-shaped table with beans and cards. The people were playing Beano. A caller was pulling numbers printed on wooden disks out of a cigar box. When the number was called, people put beans on the corresponding number on their card. Winners called out Beano.

Lowe want to get in on the game but there were no more available seats. And the players that were playing didn’t want to stop playing. They kept asking for one more game and they played until 3 a.m. Lowe hung around after the game and talked to the pitchman. The carnival man explained that when he was in Germany the year before he discovered Lotto, which was what bingo had originally been called. The pitchman recognized the game as a perfect carnival type game. He modified the game and called it Beano. Beano involved the same structure and format of what is now known as 75 ball bingo.

Lowe was intrigued and when he got back home to New York, he designed cards and bought dried beans for the game. He started playing the game with friends, with him being the caller. Until this time the game of bingo was not yet called bingo. It had been called lotto and then beano but it was still not called bingo. It was when one player became very excited as she won and stammered over the word beano she was calling out and instead she said bingo. The 75 ball game suddenly had a new name.

In that moment Lowe knew that he had just found the name for the latest game that he would promote. The first Lowe Bingo game was sold as a twelve-card set for one dollar and a twenty-four card set for two dollars. The game was a variation on an ancient game. It just had a new name. As other manufacturers came out with their own version of the game, Lowe asked them for dollar year as a royalty and that they call the game bingo as well. Since the traditional game played in Germany that the pitchman had seen was a 90 ball version of the game; this was the beginning of the 75 ball bingo as we know it today.

Because the game is so popular, its potential as a fundraiser was soon recognized. In a parish in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a member of the congregation thought of using bingo as a fundraiser for the church. The church purchased a few of Lowe’s 24-card sets. One of the problems was that with the similarities among the cards in the set each game would have quite a few winners. The parish priest approached Lowe about this situation and Lowe turned his mind to the problem.

The solution was a simple matter of coming up with more combinations of numbers for the cards. To be precise the solution only appeared simple. Coming up with the proper combinations to avoid multiple winners in each game called for the involvement of a serious mathematician. Carl Leffler, a professor of mathematics at Columbia University, provided the solution. Lowe asked Leffler to design 6,000 new bingo cards that did not have repeating groups of numbers. It was a challenging job but the professor did it. Legend has it that the professor lost his mind during the creation of the 6000 different number combinations.

Once the church was able to set up bingo games that had very few winners per game, the fundraising idea spread like wildfire. By 1934 there were 10,000 fundraising bingo games weekly in the United States. Bingo kept Lowe’s business hopping. He had 64 presses in his New York office printing 75 ball bingo cards around the clock.

The popularity of 75 ball bingo continues to present day. It is the most popular type of bingo played in the United States. As an indicator of the popularity of bingo in the United States, here is an interesting statistic: about $90 million is spent weekly by American bingo players.

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