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Quick Fact – Beano v. Bingo

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“Are you in favor of banning beano when played for prizes?”

This was one of Massachusetts’ 1944 ballot questions.

By the 1940s, beano — played with beans as markers, hence the name, and popular on the carnival circuit — had evolved into bingo. How?

Edwin S. Lowe

Brooklynite Edwin S. Lowe, after learning of beano at a Georgia carnival in 1929, returned home and tried it out on friends. Seeing how much they enjoyed it, he commercialized it under the name, bingo. The name is believed to have come from one of his inner circle blurting out the word in excitement upon winning a game.

(Lowe also opened the non-gaming Tally Ho hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada; the property was sold in 1966 and was turned into the Aladdin hotel-casino).

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