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As we have seen so many popular casino games, it appears that bingo has its roots in Italy. Historical experts have traced it back to 16th-century Italy, where the locals enjoyed a lottery-style game called Il Gioco del Lotto d'Italia. Thanks to trade between Italy and France, this early bingo game made its way across Europe and found a home in the courts of the French aristocracy, where it was known as Le Lotto.
From the earliest available records of the game, it revolved around players marking off numbers on a ticket as a caller drew and announced numbers at random. This simple gameplay loop continued throughout the 18th century as the game spread to the United Kingdom and then onto Germany. While it was a game of chance, in most of these regions, Germany used the format of the game to instruct students in several educational disciplines, including mathematics and even spelling.
Only once the game of chance hit American shores someone think to patent it. Traveling salesman and would-be entrepreneur Edwin S. Lowe was the first to patent a lotto-style game entitled bingo in the 1930s.
It is believed that the bingo was called 'beano' at the time. This naming is ascribed to the fact that to save the bingo card, beans were used to mark called numbers rather than dabbing them with ink. In a rush of excitement, a player called out bingo instead of Beano, so he patented that.
Fast-forward to the 1960's Great Britain and the government have just approved the Betting and Gaming Act 1960. This new gambling law sees dancehall-focused company Mecca Leisure Group maximize the use of their floor space by running cash bingo games across the UK.
The advent of the internet and the growth of the online gambling sector saw the digitization of bingo. The first online bingo game is said to have launched in 1996. By 2021 online bingo games will be available in most leading casinos and standalone online bingo rooms, generating millions in annual revenues.
Bingo is a straightforward game to master. The one thing that could show how well you know the game is your fluency in bingo-lingo. This list of bingo terms will help you look and sound like a lifelong bingo player next time you dab the cards.
- Blackout – A bingo variant where wins occur by filling all the numbers in a 75-ball bingo game.
- Full House – Marking all the numbers in a traditional 90-ball bingo game.
- Caller – The person who pulls the balls and calls out the numbers.
- Dauber/Dabber – The ink or digital device used to mark a number on a bingo card.
- Hard Way – A winning line that does not cross a free space.
- Cookie Jar – The slang term for the box that contains all the buy-in and prize money at a bingo hall.
- Progressive Jackpot – A jackpot that grows incrementally by adding a percentage of the cost of each bingo card to its total.
- BOGOF – A 'buy one get one free' promotion where players are offered the chance to get a free card for every card they buy for a specific bingo game.
- Chat Host (CH) – A person who keeps the energy up in an online bingo hall. They often run promotions and giveaways between games to keep players engaged.
- Chat Game – These are the mini-games, promotions, and giveaways run the CH between bingo games.
- Eyes Down – This is the call made to announce the beginning of the game
- Being ‘On’ – Any player who only needs one more number is ‘on’.
- Roommates (Roomies) – A slang bingo term for the other bingo players in the room.
- Speed Game – A high-speed bingo game where numbers are called out quickly. Often the pot is split between the player and the house.
- Bingo Lingo – Amusing or rhyming terms used for the numbers in a bingo game. For example, 11 is "legs eleven", 22 is "two little ducks", 42 is "Winnie the Pooh", and 88 is "two fat ladies".
Bingo is already a straightforward game, and online bingo is even simpler thanks to how the casino software tracks called numbers, auto-dabs your cards, and lets players know when they have won. Here are the basic rules that apply to any bingo game you play online.
Select your favorite bingo room
Online bingo providers split their offering up across multiple rooms. Pick the room you want to play in and see what the lobby offers. Here you will see the cost of tickets, any special promotions, the start times for upcoming games, and even interact with other players and the Chat Host.
Get in early and buy your tickets.
Bingo cards cannot be purchased for a game already being played. Don't miss out on jackpot games, games with bonus prizes, or your favorite bingo variant by being late. Get in early and buy our cards so you can be ready to play when "eyes down" is called.
Mark off any numbers as they are called
While online bingo does allow you to mark off numbers as they are called, we recommend using the auto-dab feature. This feature will enable you to play the maximum number of cards without the risk of missing an important number.
Wait for winning patterns to be verified.
It is best to wait for the bingo software to confirm any winning bingo pattern you complete. The software works incredibly smoothly, and your prize will be confirmed shortly after it appears on your screen. If there is a disparity between what you see on-screen and the results displayed in the software, take a screenshot and contact the customer service department.
Wait for the game to be concluded.
Not all bingo games end with a single winning pattern. Games such as 75-Ball Bingo only end once a lucky player has landed a full house by filling the entire card. Do not exit the game early as this might jeopardize your winnings; instead, play any available mini-games or chat with the other players.
Online vs Offline Bingo
While online bingo is firmly rooted in its land-based counterpart, here are some of the most notable differences that you will notice:
Online Bingo Land-based Bingo Online bingo uses RNG for calls Bingo calls are made manually by a person Offers players progressive jackpot games Prizes limited to the line and pattern payouts Faster games as calls take 3 seconds Slower overall as calls take up to 15 seconds Online bingo rooms offer bonuses No bonuses for new bingo players Socialising is limited to typing in a chat box It provides a rich social interaction environment Offers games 24/7 every day of the week Limited to the times the bingo hall is open Offers themed, branded, and speed games Limited to mostly 90 and 75-ball bingo Auto-dabbing makes multi-cards easy to play Manual checks limit the number of cards
Online bingo is a game of chance which means that no formula guarantees that you will win every time you play. However, there are some tips and tricks to make the most of your bingo cards.
Understand how calls influence odds
While 30-Ball Bingo has fewer calls, which decreases the odds of winning, it offers higher payouts. While games with higher call rates hold better odds, the prizes are often split across multiple players. Learn which games offer which number of calls and play the one that best suits your playstyle.
Learn the winning bingo patterns
Depending on the bingo variant you play, there will be custom winning patterns. Each pattern can have greater difficulty and guide your decision on which bingo games to play.
Review the jackpot rules and how to win them
Online bingo allows players to enjoy prizes such as fixed and progressive jackpot games. These games provide the opportunity to win far more significant than regular prizes but can also come with increased card prices and lower odds.
Use the auto-dab feature to play multiple cards.
Online bingo technology allows you to have the system dab your numbers for you. This tech will enable players to buy the maximum number of cards to increase their odds while not running the risk of missing any numbers.
Make the most of promotional offers.
Online bingo rooms will offer spot promotions and incentivize card purchases with offers like BOGOF. These letters stand for 'Buy One Get One Free' and allows you to get double the cards from your budget. More cards increase the odds of landing winning patterns.
Bingo Games Types
30 Ball Bingo
This variant is an online bingo variant aimed at providing quicker games. There are only 30 calls into 30 Ball Bingo, and the game is played using a bespoke 3x3 card. While it is fast-paced, winning is more difficult given the reduced number of calls.
75 Ball Bingo
Bingo players in the US popularized this bingo variant. The middle of the 5x5 bingo card is kept blank, meaning players only need 24 calls per card to get a full house. Wins are still awarded for completing vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines.
80 Ball Bingo
Online bingo has resulted in several adaptions to the original game; 80 Ball Bingo is one of these. Each game is played on a 4x4 card. In addition to offering wins using traditional vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines, this variant pays out on 4 Corners and predefined jackpot numbers.
90 Ball Bingo
Originally bingo was played with 90 balls using a fifteen-digit 3x5 bingo card. There are three main prizes up for grabs, and these occur when a player completes a horizontal row, then again when two horizontal rows are filled, and the final prize is awarded for a full house.
This popular 75 Ball Bingo version focuses on filling the card, not line-based wins, completing the entire 5x5 bingo card before your opponents are called a Blackout.
Another 75 Ball Bingo variant, Swedish Bingo cards do not have a free space in the centre. Players need to make land up to 5 lines to win. These can be a mix of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines.
Joker Jackpot Bingo
This online bingo game is played with a 3x3 grid and uses playing cards, not numbers. The game is played using a 52-card deck plus 2 jokers. Wins are awarded for completing a J pattern or making a full hand (matching all 9 cards).
Deal or No Deal Bingo
This version is a 90 Ball Bingo variant where players choose a numbered box at the start of the game in addition to the standard game rules. Winners get the option to claim their winnings or risk it all by choosing the hidden prize in the box they selected earlier.
This tongue-in-cheek bingo game was designed to cater to players who feel they lose too often. The aim of the game is not to win, with each player who gets a bingo line being eliminated till only one “unlucky” player remains. This player then wins by losing.
Progressive Jackpot Bingo
Progressive jackpots are very popular with online players. In addition to the standard winning patterns, these bingo games feature a progressive jackpot which increases with each card. Once the progressive jackpot is won, it resets to its seed jackpot, and the process begins again.
FAQIs online bingo a game of chance or skill?
Playing bingo online is a game of chance, not skill. All bingo cards have randomly assigned numbers, and bingo numbers are called using an RNG (random number generator) engine.Is online bingo legal?
Yes, we only recommend licensed online bingo providers.Can I play online bingo on my iPhone?
Yes, bingo is the perfect game to play on your mobile device as it is light on data, has simple controls and does not take long to play.Can I win real money playing bingo online?
Yes, all our recommended bingo sites offer real money prizes.How many bingo games are there?
Traditionally bingo games were limited to 90 and 75-Ball games. Online bingo now offers several other versions such as 30-Ball, 50-Ball and game show-themed variants like Deal or No Deal Bingo.What is a good online bingo game?
Choosing a good online bingo game is a personal matter. This page discusses the different types of bingo and how they work. Use this information to find the best bingo game for your needs.Is there a strategy for online bingo?
There is no winning strategy for playing bingo. We recommend learning the rules for the various types of bingo so that you understand the odds and know what it takes to win the game and any jackpot prizes.Can I get a welcome bonus for bingo?
We have listed the best bingo providers and their bonuses on GamblersPick. Follow our links to these sites to claim the available bonuses and promotions.Can I play bingo games for free?
There are several bingo demo games that you can play to learn the ropes. Remember that any prizes you win on these free bingo games cannot be withdrawn.What do I need to know before playing bingo?
Online bingo is a straightforward game for new players to learn. Read the Tips and Rules section on this page for everything you need to know about playing bingo today.