Sharpsburg Parish Is Tweeting Bingo

Bingo is the answer; the question is “how often”?!?

Since the beginning of bingo in 1530, it has been a popular civic moneymaker. Italy started the ball rolling almost 500 years ago with Il Gioco del Lotto D’Italy. As an instant success, bingo funded the Italian government and army. In the 1770s, Italy spread the bingo word to France as Le Lotto. The American bingo innovator was Edwin Lowe, a toy salesman. He fell in love with the game in 1929, changed the name from Beano to Bingo and produced his own boxed bingo sets.

Then the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania became interested. In 1930 a priest bought several of Lowe’s bingo sets and went to town! However, there were too many winners as the number of card variations was small. The priest approached Lowe with a request for more variations. Lowe answered this request with 6,000 different card combinations developed by a mathematics professor at Columbia University.

Sharpsburg’s St. Juan Diego Parish Bingo

For decades, St. Juan Diego Parish has hosted weekly bingo. As many as 250 players would regularly attend the games. Recently, however, that number has dropped to 70. In order to liven up their attendance record, the parish decided to cut down on the schedule. They thought that monthly games might just be a luckier combo than weekly games. So monthly games it is! Now the proof in the pudding is whether this tactic actually works for the church. That remains to be seen.

The Game in North America

In the U.S. and Canada together, around $90 million worth of bingo cards are purchased each week! The game has become a $5 billion contributor to charities. This game remains big business.

Australian Bingo Lovers

Warrnambool, Australia is bingotown. At Temperance Hall in Warrnambool, players begin arriving a couple of hours before the games are scheduled to start. The prizes are wonderful bonuses, but the real draw is the social connection.

Bingo has been popular in Australia for decades. The now generation has caught onto the social ambiance and gaming excitement of bingo halls. There are various bingo locations in Warrnambool; Temperance Hall on Friday nights enjoys one of the longest histories. That hall has seen more than 30 years of play. The bingo regulars include approximately 200 players.

During the three decades of bingo at Temperance Hall, a subculture has developed that adds to the welcome familiarity of Friday evening bingo. Many of the players have established specific seats as their own possession. They arrive from locations across the southwest of Australia. Almost like extended families, they bring take-out dinners and play cards during the two hours before the first number is called.

Colin Parker, the volunteer supervisor of Temperance Hall bingo for the past 20 years, commented that a new generation of players is establishing itself. Most of them go off to the pub as a group after bingo. One younger player said that it’s the atmosphere that pulls her in, and that the prizes are something extra. She loves the adrenalin rush to mark the last number on the card. For Alan Rodger, Bingo! is the best.