Bingo must be one of the most popular forms of entertainment around in
North America, and the phenomenon has taken to the Internet recently.
Once played predominantly in churches, schools, and dedicated bingo halls,
this game of the common people is now accessible easily through a connection
to the world wide web. If you're new to the game, the Internet is great
place to start learning. Read our short introduction to Bingo here, and
find out more at the expert sites.
To play bingo, which is kind of like a lottery, each player purchases
one or more cards that are divided into numbered and blank squares. A
caller or banker picks numbers randomly, usually up to 75 or 90 in all.
As the numbers are called, all of the players scan their card or cards
to see if that number appears. If the number appears it is marked off
for the duration of the game. The first player to achieve a card (or a
line in some versions of the game) in which all of the numbers have been
called shouts "bingo" and collects the stake money.
In a popular variation, the central square on the card is free, and the
first player on whose card five of the called numbers appear in a row
(vertically, horizontally, or diagonally) is the winner. The prize may
be anything from plush toys to thousands of dollars in cash, to cars,
and with the advent of online bingo, who knows? Bingo is legal in most
U.S. states that prohibit other forms of gambling. It is permitted in
Ireland when the profits are for charity; and it is closely regulated
in the United Kingdom, where lotto halls were subjected to a tax in 1966.
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