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Bingo, Housey Housey (United Kingdom) or Housie (New Zealand and Australia) is a gambling game of unknown origin. Players mark off numbers on a ticket as they are randomly called out, in order to achieve a winning combination.

It is not to be confused with the similar American game Bingo, as the tickets and the calling are slightly different.

Business aspect

In New Zealand and Australia, housie is often used a fund raiser by churches, sports teams, and other groups, and raffles are sold before the game.
Bingo, which used to be known as Housey Housey in the United Kingdom, is an expanding and highly profitable business, with many companies competing for the customers' money. It too is often organised by churches, charities and social and sports clubs as a way to raise funds.

The three largest companies with bingo halls in the United Kingdom are:
Gala Bingo (Gala Group Ltd.)
Mecca Bingo Ltd. (part of The Rank Group plc)
Riva Bingo (also has clubs under the company names of Beacon Bingo, Hippodrome Bingo & Heaton Bingo (part of Riva Gaming )

In Northern Ireland, one of the largest bingo club groups is the Planet Bingo Group, with seven clubs in the following towns/cities:

There are three clubs in the city of Belfast; Galaxy Bingo at the Yorkgate Shopping Centre, which is the Head Office, Star Bingo, and Planet Belfast, a.k.a. 321 Club due to its address; 321 Newtownards Road.

Online Bingo is also becoming increasingly popular with many different companies launching sites including Ladbrokes, The Sun, and Bingolive365which is the first online bingo company in the world to offer live and interactive "in-vision" callers.
As well as offering the familiar Housie/Bingo played by marking numbered books, most large clubs have their tables modified for the playing of Cash Housie or Mechanised Cash Bingo [Parti Bingo] (using coin slots or, increasingly in the 21st century, an electronic credit system). This is highly profitable for the operator, with a typical "take" of fifty percent of the stake.

Mechanised cash bingo differs from paper bingo, because it is played on a plastic bingo board, that is 4x4 square, and split up into four columns of colours. The customer chooses when they want to play, and insert a credit into a coin slot. The company involved will then use a computer (called a stage rig controller) to automatically take a "participation fee" which is set by the operator (usually between 40% and 60%). The rest of the credit is then put into the prize pool to be played for. There are only 80 numbers in play. The numbers are called a lot faster by the caller (usually around 1.5 seconds a number) and when a customer has a winning combination they press a claim button to stop the game. This is profitable for the operator as the games are so fast, and a huge parfee can be made in a few minutes. Winning combinations are usually any line down, across, diagonal, four corners or four centre squares.

In Northern Ireland bingo clubs, where the laws governing bingo games are different from in England, Scotland and Wales, it is common, when playing "parti bingo" for the caller to announce that a position or "card" has won, and ending the game, without the participation of the person playing. This enables the customer to play more positions in hope of a better chance of winning. (Credit: Wikipedia).




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