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Sun 26 May 2019
Bingo PDF Print E-mail
Traditionally thought of as an old person’s game, bingo has grown in both popularity and notoriety over the past few years. It has become the single most popular video gambling game behind slot machines, and much of that has to do with the influx of tribal casinos.

As tribal casinos have expanded across the United States, so has bingo. It can only be assumed that due to the popularity of these casinos and the fact that many of them can only offer Class II machines, that bingo would take off. For Class II machines are bingo machines, and many states will allow those but will not allow their higher paying Class III cousins.

According to recent reports, players in the UK have taken such a fancy to the game that they are spending well over £600 million (USD $1.2 billion) per year on bingo tickets online. The number one bingo site in the UK is bringing in 19% of the market, and the others fall in line from there. Estimates put the number of online bingo players increasing with 50,000 of the original three million land based bingo players now playing online. They also found that 90% of those online bingo players were under the age of 50, and 85% of them were women.

Bingo can actually be traced back to a lottery game that originated in Italy in 1530. Bingo has matured considerably from the first round of it, until we have the video version of the game that is offered in both land based and online casinos. The whole idea behind a bingo game is that players are given a card with random numbers that fall between 1 and 75. These numbers are linked to a letter, and fall in line accordingly:

B - lists #’s 1 - 15
I - lists #’s 16 - 30
N - lists #’s 31 – 45, and holds a free space in the middle square of the row
G - lists #’s 46 - 59
0 - lists #’s 60 – 75

Numbered balls are then drawn from a large ball and called out if done live. If playing online bingo you have several options as to how you find out if the numbers are the ones on your cards. You can click on them yourself, or you can use a program called “auto-daub” which marks your card for you as the numbers are drawn. Some online bingo programs also offer “Best Card Sorting” or “Best Card Highlighting” so that if you are playing you have the ability to see who is closest to hitting bingo.

The idea is to get “BINGO” before your opponents, thus ensuring the prize for yourself. There are a variety of ways that you can win the game, with the most traditional being five in a row either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally – it depends on the type of bingo that you are playing.

There are two major types of bingo played around the world. There is the 75 ball bingo on a 5x5 card with a free spot in the middle of the card – which is mostly popular in North America. Then there is the 90 ball game which is so popular in Europe, the UK, Australia, and some of South America, which is marked on a 9x3 card. You have the ability to play both on the internet.

The 75 ball bingo plays in patterns from a simple line to more complicated wins. You can play where you have to fill the whole card, or only part of it, but the part that is filled is usually in some sort of shape. Popular patterns for bingo are the “T” shape where the top horizontal row and the middle vertical row must be filled; or the “C” shape where both the top and bottom horizontal and the far left vertical columns must be filled. They grow in complexity from there.

The 90 ball bingo card is a little different in that it has three horizontal lines and nine columns. Each line has five numbers, so each card has 15 numbers. The first column is 1-9, the second column is 10-19, the third column is 20-29 and continues until you hit the final column which is 80-90. There are three ways to win in the bingo game – you can have one line filled, two lines filled, or a Full House. In a one line game you must fill one horizontal line, the two line game they have to fill two horizontal lines of their choice. Obviously, full house means that they have to fill the entire card.


Breaking the Bubble: The bubble is the absolute minimum number of balls that you need to get bingo. If you are lucky enough to get every number that is called in your pattern, you will have just won Bingo.

Cased/Waiting: When you have all the numbers in the pattern except for one, and simply need that one called in order for you to win.

False Alarm: Also known as “bongo, “falsie,” or “social error,” this is when someone calls bingo but does not actually have it. This can happen for a variety of reasons including mishearing the caller or stamping the wrong number in error. Usually if someone calls a false alarm they truly believe that they have won bingo.

Forwards/Backwards: This is all of the numbers beginning or ending with whatever the wild number is. Let’s say that the first ball is 22 – every number that begins or ends with a 2 is a called number. If there a number is called that limits the number of wins, like 19 (as there are no numbers that start with 9), another number may be pulled as well. This is determined on a hall by hall basis.

Jumping the Gun: This is when someone calls bingo before they actually have it. Usually using calling a number before it has been called.

Standard: All numbers ending with the second digit of the first number are considered called numbers. Let’s say that the number pulled is 15 – all numbers ending in 5 are considered called numbers – including B5.

Wild numbers: Wild numbers are determined by the bingo hall, and usually allow bingo players to start with multiple called numbers. It usually the first ball drawn, but this can vary on occasion.