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Bingo Q & A
Jun 20, 2001, 13:27
By Casino Monthly

Where does Bingo come from?
First played as a way for churches to raise money for the less fortunate during the Depression, Bingo was legalized in New Jersey and New York in the 1950's. Almost all states have since followed, seeing the profit to be made if even a small fee of each game's revenue came back in licensing fees and taxes.

How is Bingo played?
Bingo is a numbers game which has its' roots in lotteries. It's played with a field of 75 numbers and a game card. The game card is square and has 24 numbers with a "free" space in the center. With 75 possible numbers in the bingo field, there is an almost endless number of possible combinations.

What are the chances of two people having the same bingo card?
Because Bingo card manufacturers print the cards in sets of 3000, it is highly unlikely that you will ever see two identical cards at the same session.

How long is a typical Bingo session?
A Bingo session is usually made up of 10 to 15 individual Bingo games and can last a few hours.

What is the role of the announcer?
During a single game the Bingo "caller" (or announcer) selects a number between 1 and 75, and every player with that number on their card marks it off.

Can I play more than one card at a time?
Players can play more than one card per game if they so choose. The cost per card varies depending on where you play. Although there's no real advantage to playing more cards, but many people enjoy the added thrill.

How do I know the numbers are really chosen at random?
That is the most essential part of the game. The balls are contained in either a ball cage or a glass blower so they can be spun at random to ensure each pick is fair. When a ball is selected its number is announced by the caller and flashed on electronic boards for the house to see all the numbers which have been called. Once called, the ball is placed on a rack so it can't be called again.

What are some different ways of playing Bingo?
Simpler bingo games involve filling just a single row, and move to the four corners, letter shapes (X, T, Y, I or Z) or words like "HI" or even playing "coverall" in which you have to cover every number with only 48 or 50 numbers being called. Bingo can be fun, and complicated enough to keep it interesting.

What are my odds of winning?
Though the odds of winning some bingo games is very low, so is the risk and the payoff's can be great! Here are the odds at filling up a card in a coverall game when 50 numbers or less are drawn:

50 numbers drawn, odds are 1 in 212,086
49 numbers drawn, odds are 1 in 407,857
48 numbers drawn, odds are 1 in 799,399

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