Variations of bingo, that game of church halls and fraternal lodges, have been played for centuries in Europe, where the game was known as a lotto.

The modern American version was popularized by Edwin S. Lowe, a New York toy manufacturer, after he saw how popular a game called beano was at a 1929 carnival in Georgia. Players covered numbered cards with beans; the winner was the first to fill a line of numbers on their card.

Lowe said he renamed the game after he played it at home and one of his friends shouted "bingo" instead of "beano" when she won.

Lowe's company developed 6,000 variations of the bingo card, which has 24 numbered boxes arranged in a square. It is now played across the country in church halls, casinos and nonprofit fundraising events.