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Bingo Machine Allows Visually Impaired to Play

22 May 2001

SYRACUSE, New York —- As reported by the Syracuse Herald Journal: "Robert Swain held a computerized bingo machine two inches from his nose and stared at the keys. He punched in a `0' and then an `8' and sat back to wait for the next number to be called.

"Swain, who is legally blind, used a device specially modified for the visually impaired. Instead of being limited to playing several cards on a plastic Braille bingo board, he played 27 cards at once.

"…The Electronic Dauber, or TED, is being used at casinos and charity bingo halls across the country. The Oneida Indian Nation started using the machines in 1999, and now has 225 in the back of the bingo hall at its Turning Stone Casino Resort.

"The machines are becoming popular with people who have a hard time using the traditional marker and paper, and for those who want to increase their chances of winning by playing more cards at once. The machines have the capacity to play 400 bingo cards at a time, although Turning Stone allows only 54.

"…Electronic bingo makes up less than 5 percent of the estimated $7 billion bingo industry, but it's growing rapidly as players get more comfortable with the technology, [Ann Johnson, marketing manager for the manufacturer, GameTech International Inc.] said.

"…Without the machines, blind and visually impaired players use a Braille-coded card. It's time-consuming to touch each number and then drop a metal washer on the right one…"

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