Great question! Bingo is the name of the game. It’s a social game first and foremost. Players are tasked with completing specific patterns on a bingo card, based on the bingo numbers that are called. Depending on the bingo variant that you play, different patterns will be required. For example, 75 ball bingo plays out on a 5 x 5 bingo card with the centre square blanked. A coverall would require players to match all 24 numbers on the card.

However, there are plenty of letters, shapes, and patterns that can be formed. There are horizontal lines, vertical lines, and diagonal lines of all sorts. The rules of the game will determine precisely what patterns need to be completed for a winning bingo card. Bingo cannot be played without a bingo caller and a bunch of players. The more the merrier.

Online bingo features computerized ‘bingo callers’ where RNGs randomly select numbers, based on the games being played. The first player to form a winning bingo card usually wins. Sometimes, prizes are shared among winners. Bingo traditionally has two variants: American bingo and UK bingo. Of course, there are plenty of variations within these broad classifications. 75 ball bingo is the preferred game in the US and Canada, while 90 ball bingo is preferred in the UK and Europe.

Britannica defines Bingo as follows:

‘ Bingo, also called Lotto, is game of chance using cards in which there is a grid of numbers, a row of which constitutes a win, when they have been chosen at random. Bingo is one of the most popular forms of low-priced gambling in the world. 

A Brief History of Bingo

Over the years, bingo has been known by many different names. Back in the early days, bingo was known as Tombola around 1880. By 1900, bingo was played in the British Army and it was known as Housy-Housy, or House. In the US, bingo made a big splash in the early 19th century. It was actually known by different names such as Kino, Keno, or Po-Keno. Across the Atlantic, on US shores, bingo quickly achieved cult status, and became known as Radio, Beano, Fortune, or Lucky.

Bingo’s popularity was off the charts during the 1930s. During the course of the Great Depression, a variant of bingo emerged – Screeno. This chance-based game was played in movie theatres on specific nights of the week. Players received free entry to the games with complimentary bingo cards with their movie tickets. The prizes back in those times were off the charts, valued at hundreds of dollars.

Further afield in Asia, bingo games have gained traction in countries like Japan. Macau is widely regarded by gaming aficionados as the ‘Gambling Capital of The World.’ As the prime destination for high rollers from Malaysia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan, Macau reels in players by the truckload. In fact, this territory generates at least 50% of its revenue streams from 40 land-based casinos. Indeed, it is true – bingo variants are a staple among scores of players frequenting Macau’s resplendent resorts.

How are Bingo Games Played?

You’ve come to the right place! Bingo is a lottery-style game. To get started, you’ll need to buy a bingo ticket. The numbers that appear on your bingo ticket are randomly generated, and randomly dispensed. In other words, nobody knows what numbers are going to appear on your online bingo card. In 75 ball bingo, there are numbers between 1-75. In 80 ball bingo , there are numbers between 1-80, and in 90 ball bingo , there are numbers between 1-90. Great job, you guessed it.

Bingo cards are affordably priced to ensure that players across the spectrum can enjoy this chance-based game. Once we get into the nuts and bolts of bingo cards later on in this guide, you will see exactly how bingo games play out. Different names are given to the bingo caller a.k.a. the bingo host, or the bingo banker. Regardless, this person is responsible for calling out the randomly selected bingo numbers.

When playing bingo at a traditional, land-based venue, a hopper (basket) may be used, or a drum with a handle to randomly mix the bingo balls. One by one, bingo balls will be removed from the drum until a bingo player wins a round of play.

To be clear, the betting component of bingo is simply the purchase of bingo cards. You don’t need to wager additional money once a game is already in play. It’s good practice to weigh up the costs of buying bingo cards with the prizes on offer. You certainly don’t want over capitalize in a low-stakes bingo game. Nowadays, you don’t really need to worry about manually checking bingo cards online – everything is done automatically.

Once you match the required number of bingo numbers with the numbers on your card to form patterns, you’re on a winning wicket!

What Do Bingo Cards Look Like?

Bingo cards come in many different forms. Let’s take a look at 4 popular variants of bingo, and examine their bingo cards.

  • 5 Line Bingo – 5 Line Bingo is otherwise known as Swedish Bingo. This game is played on a 5 x 5 card, but there is no center square blanked out. Their means, there are 25 squares and 25 numbers in play. The letters B-I-N-G-O correspond with packets of 15 ascending numbers in each column. For example, B (1-15), I (16-30), N (31-45), G (46-60), O (61-75). Winning rounds are determined in a unique way. There are single line wins, double line wins, three line wins, four line wins, and full house options.
  • 75 Ball Bingo – The US and Canadian favourite is universally played at casinos and bingo rooms the world over. 75 Ball Bingo games are played on a 5 x 5 grid with the center square blanked out. In total, there are 24 numbers on the bingo card. The unique design and layout of 75 Ball Bingo is such that the first column features the letter B with numbers 1-15. The second column is I (16-30), followed by N (31-45), G (46 -60), and O (61 -75). Players form winning combinations by completing an X pattern, double lines, or Blackouts (Coveralls).
  • 80 Ball Bingo – this hybrid version of bingo is played on a 4×4 card with 16 squares. There are 4 columns, each of which has a specific colour. Column #1 features numbers 1-20, column #2 features numbers 21-40, column #3 features numbers 41-60 comment column #4 features numbers 61-80. Each column corresponds with a specific colour. It begins with the Red, Yellow, Blue, and Silver. These bingo games require players to form specific patterns, or combinations. A full house requires all 16 numbers to be filled, 4 Corners indicate the corner numbers on the bingo card, and then there are Vertical Lines, Horizontal Lines, and Diagonal Lines.
  • 90 Ball Bingo – 90 Ball Bingo is played on a 9 x 3 grid, comprising just 15 numbers. There are 5 numbers in each row, and 4 blank spaces in each row. But here’s the kicker with 90 Ball Bingo cards. Each of the 9 columns corresponds with a combination of numbers. Take a look at the table below:
  1. Column #1 – numbers 1 – 9
  2. Column #2 – numbers 10-19
  3. Column #3 – numbers 20-29
  4. Column #4 – numbers 30-39
  5. Column #5 – numbers 40-49
  6. Column #6 – numbers 50-59
  7. Column #7 – numbers 60-69
  8. Column #8 – numbers 70-79
  9. Column #9 – numbers 80-90

To win, match 1 line, 2 lines, or a full house. The more lines you match, the bigger your prizes!

What Bingo Extras are Required?

Bingo extras are bingo accoutrements used to make your games that much simpler to play. One of the most commonly used bingo extras is a dabber, or dauber. In land-based bingo games, these are ink markers in specific colours. They could be red, green, blue, yellow purple, or orange. You usually purchase these for a nominal fee at a traditional bingo room, and you can do with it what you please after your bingo sessions are over.

How to use a bingo dauber? You simply press over the numbers that have been called, after double-checking that you have a match. Once your matched and marked numbers to form a winning pattern, or combination, you’re in luck. Other bingo extras include the likes of bingo chat functionality, bingo cards, automatic daubing and bingo demo play options. All these fancy tools and resources can be used to great effect with online bingo games.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about marking the online bingo cards; they are automatically daubed for you.

What is the Role of the Bingo Caller?

A bingo caller is responsible for calling the bingo numbers for the bingo players. Otherwise known as a bingo announcer, a bingo boss, or a bingo host, this individual takes charge of the action and calls out the numbers for players. Bingo callers are like casino hosts, and cruise ship entertainment hosts. They are fun-loving individuals, witty, and they’ve got a passion for people. More importantly, they are experts of bingo. Once you start playing online bingo or live bingo games, you’ll see just how much fun a bingo caller’s job is. They get to interact with all the players, in real time, in person, via text, or via live cam.

On a technical level, a bingo caller must be able to operate complex equipment such as computerized screens, and random number generators. Bingo callers are professional announcers, and they act as hosts to introduce bingo games to players. Bingo callers typically have great memories, since they are required to remember numbers that have been called during a round of bingo. These folks are great with people, and they definitely don’t get stage fright. They are tasked with keeping everything running smoothly, so that players can stay entertained throughout. Next time you hear ‘2 Little Ducks’, you know it’s number 22, or ‘ Almost There’ could be 89, 79, or 74. You get it!

What Types of Bingo Games are Available?

There are plenty of bingo games to play. Many are low cost options. You can play 1p games, 5p games, and 10p games.

What Bingo Games Should You Start Playing First?

What do you prefer? 75 Ball Bingo is the favourite bingo game in the US and Canada. Luckily, this 5X5 variant is available all over the world. It’s much faster and pretty lively too. For players who prefer the UK favourite, there’s 90 Ball Bingo. This game features prominently with players and is widely considered the traditional favourite. Whatever you decide, be sure to manage your bingo bankroll well.

Can You Trust the Outcomes of Online Bingo Games?

Absolutely! Bingo games are governed by RNGs. These random number generators ensure that all bingo calls are randomly generated. Thanks to top-tier software, you’re assured of completely random calls on every ball. The top online bingo rooms routinely test their game outcomes by using the services of iTech Labs, TST (Technical Systems Testing), and eCOGRA Safe & Fair to validate the credibility and authenticity of outcomes. Licensed and regulated online bingo rooms are naturally trustworthy, especially UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission) sites.

Are there Bingo Strategies to Implement?

  • Get in the chat
  • Play free bingo games
  • Set a bingo budget and stick to it
  • Use bingo promotions to boost your stash
  • Find BOGOF bingo games and special deals
  • Play when there are fewer players in the bingo rooms
  • Use auto-daubing to automatically mark off your bingo cards
  • Never play more cards than you can manage or than you can afford

In Summary

  • Bingo comes in many different variants, including 5 line bingo, 75 ball bingo, 80 ball bingo, and 90 ball bingo.
  • There are many ways to minimize bingo game costs, such as free bingo , penny bingo, 5 p bingo, and 10 p bingo games. Use bingo bonuses and promotional offers to reduce costs.
  • Understand the differences between bingo variants, and the patterns required to form winning combinations.
  • The bingo callers are the hosts of bingo games. They take care of the action, as it happens in real time.
  • Online bingo games are governed by RNGs. These random number generators ensure random outcomes of games.