An Introduction to Bingo

The objective of the game is to complete any row of numbers across the bingo card. The acceptable number arrangements are diagonal, vertical and horizontal lines.

Each player is handed at least one bingo card. In most cases, several cards are issued to a player, often more than twenty. Each card is divided into 5 rows with a total of 25 squares. On the 25 squares are printed numbers between 1 and 75. The center square is marked "free". Each card has a unique number combination.

The game begins when the caller announces a numbered ball drawn from a container. The player checks his card to see if the number is there, and if it is, he puts a chip or a special marker called dauber on the square. The player that completes a number line in the sequence described above wins the game and shouts "bingo!"

Because the numbers are randomly drawn from blowers, there is little in the way of tactic and strategy that can be used. But it can be said that the key to success in the game is speed and concentration. Good hand to eye coordination is essential so that a player can spot the number called on his card before the next number is announced. Also, mental alertness and strength is important as a player can become fatigued in an extended game.

Unlike other games of chance, the game is generally viewed in a more favorable manner by religious groups, as compared with other gambling activities. Often, it is conducted by professional promoters under the auspices of charitable organizations, the justification being that the proceeds go to benefit causes. These games are often held in commercial or bingo halls. It should also be noted that few casinos outside of Nevada offer the game.

In addition, bingo, in one of its numerous variations, is used as an educational tool in schools. In this case words and images are substituted for the card numbers, helping children and foreigners learn English.

Utilizing the game as an instructional device is not a novel idea; it is rooted in the history of bingo itself. The earliest references to bingo like games in history can be traced back to Renaissance Italy. By the 1700s the Germans were employing bingo, or a variation of the game, to help students learn mathematics, in particular the multiplication table.

The history of bingo in the United States began in the late 1930s in New York with the introduction of the Lowe Bingo game. Coming in 12 and 24 card sets, the game would become a huge success, spawning numerous imitators by the 1940s.

The popularity of the game has continued to this day, although its legal status, as in most games of chance, varies with each state. With the Internet, online bingo has made it possible to reach out to more players than ever before in its history.

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