By Michael Kaplan

When we think of bingo, we normally consider it to be a game played by old ladies in church basements. It doesn’t come anywhere close to being the sort of chancy activity that people who visit gambling cities such as Las Vegas will go out of their way to engage in.

At least one casino boss is trying to change that. Jonathan Jossell, CEO of the Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Vegas, not only holds high stakes bingo tournaments on a regular basis, but he even built a special ballroom – complete with computer terminals and cell-phone charging stations, large enough to accommodate 280 gamblers – designated as the Plaza’s Bingo Hall, dedicated exclusively to the playing of this game.

And what a game it is: In the Plaza’s Bingo Hall, an event known as Super Bingo offers $160,000 in prize money. Players who fill in all 25 numbers on their cards, competing in the Super Coverall, win $50,000. It pays well because the odds of someone hitting the coverall are long – with 54 numbers called and 600 cards being played, the likelihood of making it is 3.21 percent. But longshots are the draw of Las Vegas, and people play Super Bingo with the dream of cashing in on the usually elusive outcome.

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