Bingo has been a popular game outside of casinos or bingo rooms for decades. But with its offline decline in recent years it seems to go through a revival online. Learn all about bingo and how and where to play it online here.
Bingo is a game of numbers and chance. There’s no skill whatsoever involved, some superstition perhaps and a lot of luck. It’s not dissimilar to keno and certainly a different form of playing lotto. But you won’t ever be able to win the amounts you may win at lotto. Still, even here it’s possible to win jackpots.
Where bingo actually originated is somewhat disputed. Apparently the game has been around since the mid-16th century and was born in Italy. Lovers of lotteries, the lottery game ‘Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia’ was remarkably similar to bingo as we play it today and also incredibly popular.
In the 18th century the game made an appearance in France, but there it was only played by those who could afford it, which means it wasn’t for the common people.
In Germany the game was adapted for children’s play to teach them about numbers and letters, but no one there considered it worthwhile of more and especially not as a form of gambling.
Eventually the game arrived in the US, where it became what it is today. Mostly it was adopted by churches, who used it as a means of raising funds. The game became very popular indeed, but was also mostly associated with seniors.
Nowadays bingo is still a popular activity in gambling halls, but the industry has seen a significant slump in offline venues. Most people appear to have moved to online bingo clients, likely because they can play just about any variety of bingo at any time, buying as many bingo cards as they like with no need to even monitor them for win, because everything is automated. The convenience is certainly attractive.
Like we said, the game of bingo is incredibly simple. Whether you play online or offline, you’ll always be looking at some version of a bingo card or another.
In a bingo hall you’ll have a thick felt pen to mark your numbers with when they are called out and appear on one of your cards. And in online bingo halls you’ll have your numbers automatically marked, if they appear on your cards. But there it is the computer randomly ‘announcing’ the numbers that have been ‘drawn’.
Once you manage to collect all the numbers required for a win on one of your cards, you usually call out ‘bingo’ or ‘house’ in an offline bingo hall. At the computer the program will automatically keep track of all winnings numbers.
How a win may be established on your bingo card depends on the version you may be playing. Often you just need to get the numbers in a horizontal or vertical line, but patterns may be an option as well.
Interestingly you may find bingo categorised differently, depending on who you ask. All the categories you may wish to establish are certainly valid, but only all together will give you a full picture about bingo.
Essentially you can classify bingo by the patterns you need to complete for a win, by the way you play it or by the number of balls in the game. We will cover all three classifications here for you.
There are quite a few variations of bingo, but these three are the main ones that you will encounter over and over again.
75-ball bingo: Here you have 5×5 cards that usually come in sets of three to cover all 75 possible numbers you can get here. And that naturally means that there are 75 balls with one number from 1 to 75 on it in the game. This version is especially popular in the US.
80-ball bingo: The cards are 4×4, meaning they cover 16 numbers. The balls cover the numbers 1 to 80 and in order to have all of them available to you, you’ll get card sets of 5. This version is called the ‘seaside arcade’ form of bingo.
90-ball bingo: The cards have a 3×5 grid and the games are obviously played with 90 balls. This version is popular in the UK.
Variations of bingo are also played differently depending on where you actually play. Offline or online in this particular case. As it is, the above types of bingo can be found offline and online alongside other versions of the game.
At the bingo hall: This is the most traditional way of playing bingo. You’re gathered with other people at a special venue. The bingo cards are made of paper, you use a felt pen to mark the numbers that have been called. Chatter is discouraged, but once someone wins they have to announce it loudly. Winners are confirmed and wins are paid out.
Online bingo room: There are dedicated bingo clients available online, so called ‘bingo rooms’. You can enter them (provided you have an account), decide on the game you want to play and wait for it to start. There are usually other players with you in the room and a round ends whenever someone actually wins. But nobody calls out ‘bingo’ here. Often bingo rooms have chat functions, where players are encouraged to interact.
Virtual bingo: This is a simple casino game you may find at most online casino under ‘other games’. Here you simply get a scratch card type of bingo card, wait for the computer to ‘announce’ the numbers and hope to win a bingo eventually. There are no other players to interact with.
Social bingo: If you like mobile games and don’t want to stake any real money, you can always just download a social bingo app and play that way. You’re usually only collecting/winning tokens, items or some sort of power-up to progress in the game or perhaps reach a new level unlocking new bingo games.
Apart from above categories, bingo games can also be differentiated by the lines or patterns you need to win at the game.
Lines: no matter whether you play 75-, 80- or 90-ball bingo, you will usually have to complete a row or column of numbers in order to get a win.
4 corners: In 80-ball bingo you can find the variation where the four corner numbers are the ones you need to get to win.
Middle square: This is also only possible in 80-ball bingo, because you have a 4×4 grid on your card. In order to win you have to complete the square of numbers in the middle.
House: Or full house. Can be played on any version of bingo and usually involves not only a jackpot, but also a community. Here you can only win by getting all numbers on a card.
Can there possibly be strategies to win at bingo? Just about the same strategies you would employ playing keno or the lottery, to be honest. That means, a player may want to get cards or hope for combinations of numbers with some significance to them such as birthdays, anniversaries or other special or lucky numbers. But outside there is no bingo strategy that would enable you to win.
Sure, the more cards you have, the higher is your chance that one of them may end up with a winning combination. But you have to remember that you are buying those cards for real cash, so the investment you make initially may end up being a loss.
Once again you have to be conscious of your budget and it is best to set a limit of what you are willing to lose. And then stick to your budget. Everything else is a matter of luck and it’s best to play for fun anyway.
There is certainly some excitement involved playing bingo offline at a bingo hall. The excitement comes from actually winning and getting to shout ‘bingo’. Beyond that the atmosphere at most bingo places is quiet as chatting is not necessarily encouraged and most people concentrate on the numbers being called and finding those on their cards.
But there is actually a real advantage to playing bingo online. You have access to a huge number of bingo games that start pretty much around the clock. Choose your preferred casino and bingo client and then wait for the game of your choice to begin. You don’t have to go anywhere to play a quick game and your chances of winning are the same.
The main advantage, however, are promotions. Quite a few online casinos that have bingo rooms also have special bingo promotions. That means extra cash to play with and more fun.
Playing bingo mobile is really quite easy. Most online casinos that offer bingo rooms also offer those clients for mobile use. That means you can always play a game of bingo on the go. Some online casinos even offer special mobile apps for their bingo rooms.
Virtual bingo games are also available for mobile use. Usually you will find them in the section ‘other games’ at online casinos. Simple bingo games you can play against the computer against whatever you choose to stake.
There may not be an awful lot of virtual bingo games around, however. Sometimes you’re only likely to find one or two.
There aren’t that many online casinos that offer bingo clients. Usually only the biggest online casinos and operators that have been around for a decade or longer and offer pretty much every online gambling product, also offer bingo rooms.
Those are the ones we tend to recommend here, because you can count on those online casinos to be not only well established, but trustworthy. Reputable online casinos that also offer bingo clients are 888 and Unibet among others.
At plenty of other online casinos you will still be able to find a virtual version of bingo, where you can easily play against the computer. But bingo rooms are less common.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us.