“B4” Bingo Became What it is Today

May 24th, 2018 Posted by Blog 2 thoughts on ““B4” Bingo Became What it is Today”

The Membertou Entertainment Centre (MEC) welcomes the world to our community every day. One of the most popular draws to the MEC is bingo, and it is no wonder why. Membertou hosts bingo 5 nights a week and offers the biggest jackpots in Cape Breton! 

Our newest blog explores the history of bingo along with some fun facts! Bingo has an interesting history that you are welcome share over the dinner-table with your family, friends, and bingo buddies!

Membertou Entertainment Centre

The Early Days

The first bingo game was believed to have been played in Italy back in 1580. While it wasn’t quite the game that we call bingo today, it had similarities. This Italian lottery was called,  “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia.

Years later, a version of this game ended up in Germany in the early 1800s. It was used in the school classrooms as a fun way to help children to develop their math skills. Do you remember playing bingo in school? 


In the early 1920s, Hugh J. Ward developed and standardized the game, which he called “Beano”. He named it Beano because dried beans were used as markers. (*Side note* We wonder if Jack played Beano with his beans before growing the beanstalk?)
The game was originally popular at carnivals in Pittsburg. Ward saw its growing popularity so he copyrighted it, and published a rule book in 1933. Having the rule book meant that this game was now legit!

Bingo was further popularized by a man named Edwin Lower. He saw people playing Beano which followed Ward’s rules. Lowe took the game to New York where friends enjoyed playing it. He promoted and marketed the game which grew in popularity. The Lowe-produced “Bingo” game had two versions, a 12-card set for $1.00 and a $2.00 set with 24 cards. By the 1940s there were Bingo games throughout the US.

Huh? How Did “Beano” Become “Bingo”?

The name was changed when Lowe’s excited friend accidentally yelled “Bingo” instead of “Beano”. While people most likely laughed at her, the name stuck. Oops!

Daubing and Dabbing

No, we don’t mean the latest dance move started by a celeb. Daubers, or dabbers, are bingo markers. They are an essential bingo tool that can be used as a way to express yourself. Bingo daubers can be as unique and flashy as the person using them. While there are different kinds, with funky designs, the ink should always be transparent yet colourful so that your marks stand out and allow your numbers to be visible.

Did you know that there are glittered ink daubers? We would be ALL over glitter daubers. Here we’ve found you some: click here. You’re welcome! 


Don’t let your belly grumble distract you while you’re daubing digits at bingo. The Membertou Entertainment Centre has a concession cart stocked with bars, chips and pop, so that you don’t even have to leave your chair. Indulging in junk food is part of the fun of going to bingo…right?

Tech Times

 Membertou has electronic bingo machines. Although you’ll have to show up early in order to snag these hot items before they are gone.

Bingo Buddies

Now that you have a better understanding of the history of Bingo, you will be able to share it with your bingo buddies. Don’t have a bingo buddy? No problem. The Membertou Entertainment Centre welcomes tons of people through the doors every week. Take part in a full night of fun with the chance to win some fantastic cash prizes. Catch a game on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:00pm and help raise money for local charities. Maybe you can meet a new bingo buddy!

Fun Facts

  1. The Membertou Entertainment Centre has donated over $1,500,000.00 to local charities since opening in 2007.
  2. 80% of bingo players are women.
  3. A “mushroom” is a group of 6 to 8 electronic bingo terminals grouped together in a mushroom shape.
  4. While you’re at bingo please don’t “jump the gun”. Jumping the gun is when you call bingo before having a valid bingo. The most common situation is someone calling bingo using the next number in the screen before it has been called. For everyone’s sake please hold your horses and check your card before calling bingo.
  5. Did you know that up to 96% of all bingo players have won at least one game? This can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. The odds of hitting the jackpot quite low while the odds of winning overall are quite high.
  6. Bingo can be played using sets of 90, 85 or 75 numbers. The National Bingo Game is played using a set of 90 numbers, 1-90.
  7. Do you like the film Chicago? You can thank your lucky stars that Catherine Zeta Jones’ father played bingo. Her dad won enough money at bingo to afford to send her to theatre school.
  8. 75-Ball is the most popular form of bingo in the United States and Canada and has also gained popularity on online bingo sites all over the world.

We hope you’ve learned something new and welcome you to come and enjoy a game of bingo at The Membertou Entertainment Centre.

Call the Bingo Hotline for more information at (902) 562-3999.


Are you a bingo player? If so, how many years have you been playing? Let us know in the comments below! 


2 thoughts on ““B4” Bingo Became What it is Today”

  1. Marg MacPhee says:

    I have been playing for 6 years. I love bingo

    1. Destination Membertou says:

      Thats great!

Leave a Reply

Contact Information

Membertou, Nova Scotia
Cape Breton Island
Toll free: 1-844-323-7255
General Info: 902-563-4534
Cultural Offerings: 902-567-5333

Destination Membertou. Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved.

Shopping cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.