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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Created in 1969 to implement and regulate public lotteries, the Government of Quebec has since given the agency authority to operate three casinos, restaurant and hotel services related to the casinos, a video lottery network and a network of bingo activities. Loto-Québec also offers products and services that it has developed on the international market.
Loto-Québec returns much of its proceeds to the provincial government. For example, in 2005 Loto-Québec generated almost $4 billion dollars in revenue (over $500 per person living in the province). Of these revenues, approximately 25% was handed over to the provincial government, 25% went to administrative expenses and 50% was paid out to the "winners".
Loto-Québec also finances a program for the prevention and treatment of compulsive gambling, and sponsors a number of community events (most notably, an annual fireworks competition held in Quebec City).