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California Casino Turns On Bingo Machines

2 August 2005

SAN PABLO, California – As reported by the ContraCosta Times: "With little pomp and no ceremony, the newly renamed San Pablo Lytton Casino turned on 500 electronic bingo machines Monday morning, thus becoming the Bay Area's first -- and, opponents hope, lone -- urban casino.

"The first-morning crowd consisted overwhelmingly of local people who had read about the opening in the news or heard it by word of mouth. A brigade of casino employees stood by to instruct the novices on how to use the machines, which visually resemble Nevada-style slot machines but differ in some essential aspects, notably legal status.

"…As a form of bingo, the electronic version requires a player to push a 'daub' button -- a maximum three daubs per play. But you do not have to understand the first thing about bingo to play, said Ted Gail of Reno-based International Game Technology, which manufactures the machines. Many people simply want to "watch the lines" and enjoy 'the entertaining display'" he said.

"At eye level, a player sitting at the machine looks at a screen with rows of symbols similar to Nevada slots. A certain number of symbols in a row wins, just like in Nevada. However, 'the bingo payments are completely determined by the bingo computer,' Gail said.

"…A second screen, above the line screen, displays bingo cards.

"…Most of the machines come in denominations of 5 cents to $5 per line. The maximum bet on a $5 machine was $15. There was also a 1-cent machine, the Unicorn.

"The base Bingo Grand Prize -- a class II form of jackpot -- was $50,000 on Monday…"

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