Types of Bingo - The Bingo.Games Official Guide

Chapter 2

Introduction

Bingo is a simple game. That’s a major part of its appeal, and the reason it has spread to all corners of the world. However, like all classic gambling games, it has experienced many evolutions and changes, with different countries, developers, and players adapting the rules to create their own unique variations.

What follows is a list of the most popular types of bingo, along with the rules and features that make them unique.

Contents:

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Real Money Bingo

75-Ball Bingo

80-Ball Bingo

90-Ball Bingo

Progressive Jackpot Bingo

Bingo Tournaments

Speed Bingo

Bingo Slots

Themed Bingo

Free Bingo

Conference Bingo

Novelty Bingo

Home Bingo

Freerolls

Real Money Bingo

Millions of pounds in bingo prizes are paid every single year in the United Kingdom, across hundreds of bingo halls and online sites.

Real money bingo can be played online and offline and includes games like:

75-Ball Bingo

One of the most popular variants in the United States, 75-Ball Bingo is played on a 5 x 5 grid, with numbers from 1 to 79. Players win a prize whenever they get a line, and this line can appear diagonally and vertically, as well as horizontally.

Each ticket has 25 numbers in total, with a star in the centre square. This is a “Free” number and means that only four numbers are required if the line connects through the middle.

Due to the massive influence that the US has over the global gaming industry, many of the bingo apps you can download on your phone, along with a number of real money games influenced by bingo, use the 75-Ball format.

80-Ball Bingo

One of the most common bingo games online, 80-Ball Bingo was actually developed for the web. Each ticket features a 4x4 grid, with 16 numbers. There is no centre square and no “Free” number, and the payouts vary from game to game, including some or all of the following:

  • Single Line: The game pays for a single line (vertical, horizontal, and diagonal) that moves from one end of the number square to the other.
  • Two Lines: Any two lines trigger a payout.
  • 1 Column: A column is a vertical line running from the top of the square to the bottom.
  • 2 Columns: Two vertical lines that are next to each other.
  • 3 Columns: Three vertical lines.
  • Full House: Often the largest prize, a Full House occurs when players match all of the numbers on their card.

90-Ball Bingo

The most popular offline bingo format in the United Kingdom, 90-Ball Bingo tickets look completely different to other bingo tickets. They feature three rows and nine columns, with a total of 27 spaces.

90-Ball Bingo tickets are often sold in strips of 6 and the payouts differ from 75- and 80-Ball Bingo variants. Typically, a game will pay when players match all four corners, a horizontal line, 2 lines, and/or a Full House.

The majority of 90-ball bingo games will trigger a win when someone gets a single line. It will then continue rolling until someone gets two lines, and then a Full House. As a result, the game is not over just because someone wins the first prize and more often than not, the prizes are claimed by different players.

90-Ball Bingo used to be known as “Housey-Housey” in the United Kingdom, but this name is rarely used today. (14)

Progressive Jackpot Bingo

A progressive jackpot is an ever-increasing jackpot that continues to grow until it is claimed. These jackpots are commonly seen in real money slots but also feature on games like roulette, video poker, and even bingo.

Every time you purchase a ticket, a small amount of that purchase is added to the jackpot pool. This continues to grow until the jackpot is claimed, and the payout is usually triggered by a rare occurrence, such as a Full House achieved within a specific number of balls.

The longer the jackpot goes unclaimed, the higher it will grow. As with lottery rollovers, this typically triggers an increase in ticket sales, as players try to get their hands on the grand prize. When this happens, the jackpot climbs even higher!

You don’t need to pay extra to qualify for this jackpot and every player has a chance of winning with every ticket that they purchase. This is what makes progressive jackpots so appealing and it’s why we’re seeing an increasing number of them being added to games of bingo online.

Bingo Tournaments

Bingo tournaments are leaderboard games that give you points every time you win a game. The more games you win, the more points you earn and the higher you will climb up the leaderboard.

The players who have the most points at the end of play are awarded a series of pre-determined prizes, including cash, bonus credits, and more. It really all depends on the site and the type of tournament.

Bingo tournaments increase the odds and the total number of tickets, which, in turn, allows the organisers to increase the payouts. As a result, you can often collect big prizes relative to your initial stake or stakes.

Speed Bingo

A bingo variant played with just 30 balls; Speed Bingo games are designed to move quickly and organisers can cycle through a number of games in a short space of time. The fact that there are up to 3x fewer balls, means the results are quick and the games end early.

The speed bingo format works really well for freeroll tournaments and community games, as the short run-time increases excitement levels even when there is very little incentive for the players. However, it also features on many real money bingo sites.

Bingo Slots

The idea of a bingo slot machine may seem pretty alien to players in the UK, but these games are popular in the United States. Bingo slots work a lot like traditional slot machines and from the player’s perspective, there isn’t much difference. (15)

But as far as Indian Gaming Laws are concerned, there is a massive difference and to bypass this issue, slot machines essentially masquerade as bingo games. You’ll see the same assortment of reels and symbols, and many of the paylines and payouts are similar to video slots as well. But the outcomes are decided by a virtual bingo card that stays on the screen at all times.

This provides the casino with the best of both worlds. They can position their games as “bingo machines” to ensure a more lenient legal definition, but they can also stylise them just like traditional slots, thus appealing to the millions of slot fans that flock to US tribal casinos every year.

Themed Bingo

Software developers have had a lot of fun with online bingo over the years and have incorporated all kinds of themes and features, expanding on this popular format and creating new ways to play.

For instance, players can purchase tickets to gameshow themed titles. The tickets are marked in the same way and players can get lines, double lines, and even a Full House. But throughout the game, they will see visuals and hear music from the show. At the end, there are often mini-games related to the show and sometimes a well known on-screen presenter may host the game!

Free Bingo

One of the great things about bingo is that you don’t need money, chips, or anything of the sort to play. It’s a game that can be adapted to suit any situation, and with free bingo, it can be enjoyed by all adults on any occasions. 

Important note: It is our view that even free bingo should only be played by adults of over 18 years of age. 

Conference Bingo

In recent years, with the growing popularity of services like Zoom, we’ve seen an influx of “Conference Bingo” games (in fact, we've written a guide to virtual bingo). Before the meeting, every caller gets a bingo card and in place of numbers, there are squares featuring conference clichés like:

  • Someone Uses the Word “Pivot”
  • Pets Appear Onscreen
  • A Caller is Clearly Texting on the Sly
  • A Dog Barks
  • A Cat Meows
  • Someone’s Call Freeze

It’s a great way of injecting some laid-back excitement into an otherwise formal and dull process. It’s also a great icebreaker!

If you’re more familiar with the people on the call, you can add a few more personal touches:

  • Gets Yet Another Amazon Delivery
  • They Yawn
  • Asks for Clarification
  • Accidentally Mutes Themselves Before Speaking
  • Is Late by Ten Minutes

Novelty Bingo

Conference Bingo is not the only unique way to play this game. Novelty Bingo comes in several forms, including some titles you can play with friends and family members:

  • Car Bingo: Mark those cards with different car colours, manufacturers, or even license plates. It’ll make those long car journeys fly by.
  • Video Chats: Like Conference Bingo, but played with friends. You can include expressions that certain family members often repeat or things you anticipate they will say or do.
  • Holiday Bingo: Prepare for Christmas dinner with bingo spaces that include things like, “Aunty Linda gets drunk” and “Uncle John falls asleep before dessert”. A great way to entertain younger family members.

Home Bingo

Print off some bingo cards, assume the role of the bingo caller and prepare for a night of fun with friends. You can use random number generators to select the numbers and ensure complete fairness.

Home games of bingo are a great way to punctuate a night of eating and drinking, a way to add some spice and excitement and to keep everyone on their toes. You can even create a prize for the winner, giving them a bottle of wine or beer, and incentivising them to play to the end.

Freerolls

A freeroll is a bingo tournament that’s open to everyone and doesn’t charge an entry fee. These tournaments are available across many different casino games and are perhaps most common in the poker industry. If you have any experience with poker freerolls, you’ll have an idea of what to expect.

In simple terms, bingo sites use these tournaments as a way of attracting new players and giving current members an incentive to play. Casinos use them to encourage activity and get as many players involved as possible, before offering a prize to the top few finishers.

It’s rare to win a huge sum of money playing freerolls and some of them swap big payouts for prizes or even bragging rights. But they are a great way to play the game for free and still be in with a chance of winning a prize.

References:

14. “Housey-Housey”. Collins Dictionary.

15. “Is it Bingo, or is it a Slot Machine?Gambling and the Law. June 27, 2017.