bingo

/bing"goh/, n. (sometimes cap.)
1. a form of lotto in which balls or slips, each with a number and one of the letters B, I, N, G, or O, are drawn at random and players cover the corresponding numbers printed on their cards, the winner being the first to cover five numbers in any row or diagonal or, sometimes, all numbers on the card.
2. (used to call a win in bingo.)
3. (used to express suddenness or swiftness, as of an action): He waved his hand, and, bingo, the card reappeared.
4. (used to acknowledge someone's sudden understanding or correct response): Bingo! That's just what I meant!
[1935-40; appar. alter. of BEANO1]

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Game of chance played with cards having a grid of numbered squares corresponding to numbered balls drawn at random.

When a number on the card is drawn, the players cover that number (should they have it); the game is won by covering a certain number of squares in a row (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally). Cards are purchased and proceeds are placed into a common "pot"; winning cards are awarded a portion of the pot. Wildly popular in the mid 20th century, bingo has in recent decades suffered a decline in America but has increased in popularity in other parts of the world. The earliest name for bingo
lotto
was recorded in Britain in 1776; the game is sometimes called keno in the U.S.

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also called  Lotto,  

      game of chance using cards on which there is a grid of numbers, a row of which constitute a win when they have been chosen at random. Bingo is one of the most popular forms of low-priced gambling in the world.

      To play bingo, which is a form of lottery, each player purchases one or more cards divided into numbered and blank squares. Randomly chosen numbers, usually up to 75 or 90, are called out by a “banker.” The first player to achieve a card (or a line) in which all of the numbers have been called shouts “bingo” or “house” and collects the entire stake money, usually less a specified percentage, if that is permitted by local law. In another 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 (jackpot) may amount to thousands of dollars. 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.

      Bingo has had many names and variations. The earliest name, lotto (or loto), a children's game, was first recorded in 1778. The original American form, called keno, kino, or po-keno, dates from the early 19th century. The only form of gambling permitted in the British armed services, the game is called in the Royal Navy tombola (1880) and in the Army, house (1900), or housy-housy. Other American names are beano, lucky, radio, and fortune. At the height of its popularity during the Great Depression of the 1930s, a variant (often called screeno) was played in motion-picture theatres, with one night in the week designated bank night, when patrons received free bingo cards with their admission tickets; prizes amounted to hundreds of dollars in cash or merchandise.

      Bingo has been played enthusiastically in Japan and has even been introduced at the casino in Monte-Carlo. In Great Britain the game received its greatest impetus when the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 permitted the formation of a large number of commercial lotto clubs. Within a few years, the game achieved a popularity equaling or exceeding that which it had formerly enjoyed in the United States.

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Universalium. 2010.

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